nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2018‒07‒09
five papers chosen by
Sam Sarpong
The University of Mines and Technology

  1. African states and development in historical perspective: Colonial public finances in British and French West By Denis Cogneau; Yannick Dupraz; Sandrine Mesplé-Somps
  2. Building Nations Through Shared Experiences: Evidence from African Football By Emilio Depetris-Chauvin; Ruben Durante; Filipe R. Campante
  3. Revisiting the causal effects of exporting on productivity: Does price heterogeneity matter? By Tewodros Ayenew Wassie
  4. Transborder Ethnic Kin and Local Prosperity : Evidence from Night-Time Light Intensity in Africa By Christophe Muller; Pierre Pecher
  5. Taxing Highly Processed Foods - Impacts on Obesity and Underweight in Sub-Saharan Africa By Ole Boysen; Kirsten Boysen-Urban; Harvey Bradford; Jean Balié

  1. By: Denis Cogneau (IRD - Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics); Yannick Dupraz (University of Warwick [Coventry]); Sandrine Mesplé-Somps (DIAL - Développement, institutions et analyses de long terme, LEDa - Laboratoire d'Economie de Dauphine - Université Paris-Dauphine, PSL - Paris Sciences et Lettres)
    Abstract: Why does it seem so difficultto build a sizeable developmenta state in Africa? Agrowing literature looks at the colonial roots of differences in economic development, often using the French/British difference as asource of variation to identify which features of the colonial pastmattered. We use historical archivestobuildanewdatasetofpublicfinancesin9Frenchand4Britishcoloniesof West Africa from 1900 to in dependence.Though we find some significant differences between French and British colonies, we conclude that over all patterns of public finances were similarin both empires. The most striking fact is the greatin crease in expenditure per capitain the last decades of colonization: it quadrupled between the end o World War II and independence. This increase inexpenditure was made possible partly by an increase incustoms revenue due to rising trade flows, but mostly by policy changes: netsubsidies from colonizers to their colonies became positive, while, within the colonies, direct and indirect taxation rates increased. We conclude that the last fifteen years of colonization area key period tounderstand colonial legacies.
    Keywords: Public finances,West Africa,state building,colonization
    Date: 2018–06
  2. By: Emilio Depetris-Chauvin; Ruben Durante; Filipe R. Campante
    Abstract: We examine whether shared collective experiences can help build a national identity, by looking at the impact of national football teams’ victories in sub- Saharan Africa. Combining individual survey data with information on official matches played between 2000 and 2015, we find that individuals interviewed in the days after a victory of their country’s national team are less likely to identify with their ethnic group than with the country as a whole and more likely to trust people of other ethnicities than those interviewed just before. The effect is sizable and robust and is not explained by generic euphoria or optimism. Crucially, we find that national victories not only affect attitudes but also reduce violence: using plausibly exogenous variation from close qualifications to the African Cup of Nations, we find that countries that (barely) qualified experience significantly less conflict in the following six months than countries that (barely) did not. Our findings indicate that, even when divisions are deeply rooted, shared experiences can work as an effective nation-building tool, bridge cleavages, and have a tangible effect on violence.
    JEL: O12
    Date: 2018–05
  3. By: Tewodros Ayenew Wassie (Department of Economics, University of Sheffield)
    Abstract: In most empirical studies that establish the export-productivity relationships, output is measured in values rather than in quantities. This makes it difficult to distinguish between productivity and within-firm changes in price that could occur following exposure to international markets. Using detailed data on quantity and prices from Ethiopian manufacturing firms in the period 1996-2005, this paper distinguishes efficiency from revenue based productivity and examines what this means for the estimated relationship between exporting and productivity. The main results show that exporters are more productive than non-exporters in terms of revenue based productivity and this is explained by both self-selection and learning effects. However, when correcting for price heterogeneity, exporters appear to be similar to non-exporters both before and after export entry. Overall, the results suggest that the increase in firm-level productivity following entry into foreign markets is associated with changes in prices as opposed to productive efficiency.
    Keywords: Export; revenue productivity; physical productivity; price heterogeneity; Africa; Ethiopia
    JEL: F14 D22 O14 O55
    Date: 2018–12
  4. By: Christophe Muller (Aix-Marseille Université); Pierre Pecher (Aix-Marseille Université)
    Abstract: Ethnicity often occupies a core role in integrated social, economic, and political development processes, which have mostly been studied within specific countries. Across countries, social and economic development may be supported by political capabilities achieved by ethnic kin abroad, although there is little hard evidence on politico-economic interactions through ethnic networks. We fill this gap by providing the first robust empirical evidence of the substantial effects of political predominance of transborder ethnic kin on local economic development in Africa. This is achieved by specifying and estimating dynamic spatial models of geolocalised luminosity and matching these data with other geolocalised information on geographic, political, and ethnic characteristics. Spatial and ethnic network effects are separately identified and jointly analysed. Not only distinct spatial effects and transborder ethnic effects are exhibited, but also are their complex dynamics and spatial distribution features in terms of local development. The results draw attention to the relevance of a broader international perspective on policies affecting ethnic politics within countries.
    Keywords: Local Development, Ethnic Networks, Institutions
    JEL: D72 R11 O43
    Date: 2018–05–26
  5. By: Ole Boysen (School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin, Ireland); Kirsten Boysen-Urban (International Agricultural Trade and Food Security, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany.); Harvey Bradford; Jean Balié (Monitoring and Analysing Food and Agricultural Policies (MAFAP), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy.)
    Abstract: The consumption of highly processed food has been singled out as one of the factors responsible for the rapidly increasing prevalence of obesity and its associated non-communicable diseases and costs. While obesity prevalence is still comparatively low in lower-income sub-Saharan Africa(SSA), development prospects in this region render its markets especially interesting for these foods, whose consumption is already growing at higher rates than in developed countries. This might be reflected in the massive rise in obesity prevalence growth rates in SSA over the past decade, which has occurred while many of these countries are simultaneously struggling with high undernutrition prevalence. With a focus on SSA, this study econometrically investigates the effect of higher import tariffs on highly processed vis-à-vis less-processed foods with respect to their impacts on obesity and underweight prevalence, utilizing a newly constructed cross-country panel dataset. The effects of the tariff differences are found to be significant and substantial in cases differentiated by income level of the country as well as by gender. The results more generally show that policies affecting the consumer price differential between the two food groups are effective for influencing obesity and underweight prevalence and that these two issues cannot be treated separately.
    Keywords: highly processed foods, obesity, underweight, food policies, taxes, Sub-Saharan Africa
    Date: 2018–06–19

This nep-afr issue is ©2018 by Sam Sarpong. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.