nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2020‒07‒20
six papers chosen by
Sam Sarpong
The University of Mines and Technology

  1. Urbanization as a driver of changing food demand in Africa: Evidence from rural-urban migration in Tanzania By Lara Cockx; Liesbeth Colen; Joachim De Weerdt; Sergio Gomez Y Paloma
  2. Conflict in Africa during COVID-19: social distancing, food vulnerability and welfare response By Roxana Guti\'errez-Romero
  3. Migrants' Remittances and inclusive growth in sub-Saharan Africa By Narcisse Cha'ngom; Georges Tamokwe P.; Edgard Manga
  4. The impacts of unconditional cash transfers on schooling in adolescence and young adulthood: Evidence from South Africa By Neryvia Pillay Bell
  5. God insures those who pay? Formal insurance and religious offerings in Ghana. By Auriol, Emmanuelle; Lassebie, Julie; Panin, Amma; Raiber, Eva; Seabright, Paul
  6. Can Digitalization Help Deter Corruption in Africa? By Rasmané Ouedraogo; Amadou N Sy

  1. By: Lara Cockx (KU Leuven); Liesbeth Colen (European Commission - JRC); Joachim De Weerdt (University of Antwerp); Sergio Gomez Y Paloma (European Commission - JRC)
    Abstract: There is rising concern that the ongoing wave of urbanization will have profound effects on eating patterns and increase the risk of nutrition-related non-communicable diseases. Yet, our understanding of urbanization as a driver of food consumption remains limited and primarily based upon research designs that fail to disentangle the effect of living in an urban environment from other socioeconomic disparities. Data from the Tanzania National Panel Survey, which tracked out-migrating respondents, allow us to compare individuals’ dietary patterns before and after they relocated from rural to urban areas and assess whether those changes differ from household members who stayed behind or moved to a different rural area. We find that individuals who relocated to urban areas experience a much more pronounced shift away from the consumption of traditional staples, and towards more high-sugar, conveniently consumed and prepared foods. Contrary to what is often claimed in the literature, living in an urban environment is not found to contribute positively to the intake of protein-rich foods, nor to diet diversity. Though we do not find a strong association with weight gain, these changes in eating patterns represent a clear nutritional concern regarding the potential longer-term impacts of urbanization. Our results however also indicate that the growth of unhealthy food consumption with urbanization is largely linked to rising incomes. As such, health concerns over diets can be expected to spread rapidly to less-urbanized areas as well, as soon as income growth takes off there. Our findings clearly call for more in-depth research that may help to improve health and food and nutrition security as well as correctly predict food demand and adapt trade, agricultural and development policies.
    Keywords: urbanization, diets, nutrition, Tanzania
    Date: 2019–02
  2. By: Roxana Guti\'errez-Romero
    Abstract: We study the effect of social distancing, food vulnerability, welfare and labour COVID-19 policy responses on riots, violence against civilians and food-related conflicts. Our analysis uses georeferenced data for 24 African countries with monthly local prices and real-time conflict data reported in the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) from January 2015 until early May 2020. Lockdowns and recent welfare policies have been implemented in light of COVID-19, but in some contexts also likely in response to ongoing conflicts. To mitigate the potential risk of endogeneity, we use instrumental variables. We exploit the exogeneity of global commodity prices, and three variables that increase the risk of COVID-19 and efficiency in response such as countries colonial heritage, male mortality rate attributed to air pollution and prevalence of diabetes in adults. We find that the probability of experiencing riots, violence against civilians, food-related conflicts and food looting has increased since lockdowns. Food vulnerability has been a contributing factor. A 10% increase in the local price index is associated with an increase of 0.7 percentage points in violence against civilians. Nonetheless, for every additional anti-poverty measure implemented in response to COVID-19 the probability of experiencing violence against civilians, riots and food-related conflicts declines by approximately 0.2 percentage points. These anti-poverty measures also reduce the number of fatalities associated with these conflicts. Overall, our findings reveal that food vulnerability has increased conflict risks, but also offer an optimistic view of the importance of the state in providing an extensive welfare safety net.
    Date: 2020–06
  3. By: Narcisse Cha'ngom (CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - Clermont Auvergne - UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Georges Tamokwe P. (ESSEC - Université de Douala (Ecole supérieure des sciences économiques et commerciales)); Edgard Manga (Université de Douala [Cameroon])
    Abstract: This study assesses the contribution of remittances to the improvement of inclusive growth in sub-Saharan Africa, taking into account the role of institutions. Based on panel data of 24 countries for the period 1985-2014, results show that remittances positively contribute to the inclusiveness of economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. Controlling for quality of institutions, it came out that poor institutions rather hamper this contribution in the short run with the risk of neutralizing it in the long run.
    Keywords: remittances,inclusive growth,institutions,Sub-Saharan Africa
    Date: 2020–06–12
  4. By: Neryvia Pillay Bell
    Abstract: I study an expansion of a South African social grant program that provided unconditional cash transfers to adolescents for the first time. Over the period 2009 to 2012, age eligibility for the child support grant was progressively extended from children under 14 to children under 18 years old. I use a difference-in-difference identication strategy that exploits the cross birth cohort variation in adolescent grant eligibility generated by these age eligibility changes to examine how unconditional cash transfers affect schooling outcomes in adolescence and young adulthood. I find that adolescent grant eligibility increases enrollment and attainment, with the effects concentrated among females, rural individuals, and those with the lowest numerical literacy. I explore education spending as a channel through which the child support grant affects education outcomes.
    Keywords: unconditional cash transfer, child support grant, Education
    JEL: H53 I25 O15
    Date: 2020–05
  5. By: Auriol, Emmanuelle; Lassebie, Julie; Panin, Amma; Raiber, Eva; Seabright, Paul
    Abstract: This paper provides experimental support for the hypothesis that insurance can be a motive for religious donations. We randomize enrollment of members of a Pentecostal church in Ghana into a commercial funeral insurance policy. Then church members allocate money between them- selves and a set of religious goods in a series of dictator games with signicant stakes. Members enrolled in insurance give signicantly less money to their own church compared to members that only receive information about the insurance. Enrollment also reduces giving towards other spiritual goods. We set up a model exploring different channels of religiously based insurance. The implications of the model and the results from the dictator games suggest that adherents perceive the church as a source of insurance and that this insurance is derived from beliefs in an interventionist God. Survey results suggest that material insurance from the church community is also important and we hypothesize that these two insurance channels exist in parallel.
    Keywords: Charitable Giving; economics of religion; Informal Insurance
    JEL: D14 G22 O12 O17 Z12
    Date: 2020–01
  6. By: Rasmané Ouedraogo; Amadou N Sy
    Abstract: This paper studies the effect of digitalization on the perception of corruption and trust in tax officials in Africa. Using individual-level data from Afrobarometer surveys and several indices of digitalization, we find that an increase in digital adoption is associated with a reduction in the perception of corruption and an increase in trust in tax officials. Exploiting the exogeneous deployment of submarine cables at the local level, the paper provides evidence of a negative impact of the use of Internet on the perception of corruption. Yet, the paper shows that the dampening effect of digitalization on corruption is hindered in countries where the government has a pattern of intentionally shutting down the Internet, while countries that successfully promote information and communication technology (ICT) enjoy a more amplified effect.
    Date: 2020–05–29

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