nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2012‒10‒06
23 papers chosen by
Mark Lee
Towson University

  1. Significant Drivers of Growth in Africa By Oleg Badunenko; Daniel J. Henderson; Romain Houssa
  2. Free Access to HAART and Pregnancy Response among HIV Patients: A Case Study from Cameroon By Miron Tequame
  3. Growth-Friendly Dictatorships By Giacomo De Luca; Jean-François Maystadt; Petros G. Sekeris
  4. The West's aid dilemma and the Chinese solution? By Xiaobing Wang; Adam Ozanne
  5. Wages and Informality in Developing Countries By Costas Meghir; Renata Narita; Jean-Marc Robin
  6. Institutional Wage Effects: Revisiting Union and Bargaining Council Wage Premia in South Africa By Haroon Bhorat; Carlene Van Der Westhuizen; Sumayya Goga
  7. The Gender Wage Gap in the Post-apartheid South African Labour Market By Haroon Bhorat; Sumayya Goga
  8. Education and Freedom of Choice: Evidence from Arranged Marriages in Vietnam By Emran, M. Shahe; Maret-Rakotondrazaka, Fenohasina; Smith, Stephen C.
  9. It's a Boy! Women and Non-Monetary Benefits from a Son in India By Zimmermann, Laura
  10. Conditional Cash Transfers, Political Participation, and Voting Behavior By Baez, Javier E.; Camacho, Adriana; Conover, Emily; Zárate, Román Andrés
  11. Trust and Trustworthiness under the Prospect Theory: A Field Experiment in Vietnam By Nguyen, Quang; Villeval, Marie Claire; Xu, Hui
  12. Access to Public Schools and the Education of Migrant Children in China By Chen, Yuanyuan; Feng, Shuaizhang
  13. Conditional Cooperation and Disclosure in Developing Countries By Martinsson, Peter; Pham-Khanh, Nam; Villegas-Palacio, Clara
  14. Distortions to agriculture and economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa By Anderson, Kym; Bruckner, Markus
  15. Handwashing behavior change at scale : evidence from a randomized evaluation in Vietnam By Chase, Claire; Do, Quy-Toan
  16. The effect of subsidies on the performance and sustainability of microfinance institutions in sub-Saharan Africa By Dlamini, Menzie S.
  17. Housing prices and the high Chinese saving rate puzzle By Xin Wang; Yi Wen
  18. The Consequences of Failed Mediation in Civil Wars: Assessing the Sri Lankan Case By Sandra Sandra; Johannes Vüllers
  19. Origins and Outcomes of Electoral Institutions in African Hybrid Regimes: A Comparative Perspective By Alexander Stroh; Sebastian Elischer; Gero Erdmann
  20. African polygamy: Past and present By Fenske, James
  21. Financial liberalisation, Banking Crises and Economic Growth in African Countries By Enowbi Batuo, Michael; Mlambo, Kupukile
  22. How Is Power Shared In Africa? By Patrick Francois; Ilia Rainer; Francesco Trebbi
  23. New Tools for the Analysis of Political Power in Africa By Ilia Rainer; Francesco Trebbi

  1. By: Oleg Badunenko (University of Cologne); Daniel J. Henderson (University of Alabama); Romain Houssa (University of Namur)
    Abstract: We employ bootstrap techniques in a production frontier framework to provide statistical inference for each component in the decomposition of labor productivity growth, which has essentially been ignored in this literature. We show that only two of the four components have significantly contributed to growth in Africa. Although physical capital accumulation is the largest force, it is not statistically significant. Thus, ignoring statistical inference would falsely identify physical capital accumulation as a major driver of growth in Africa when it is not.
    Keywords: Africa, bootstrap, growth, production frontier
    JEL: C14 O10 O40
    Date: 2012–08
  2. By: Miron Tequame (Center for Research in the Economics of Development, University of Namur)
    Abstract: The HIV/AIDS epidemic has dramatically altered patterns of morbidity and mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa with potential consequences on fertility and population dynamics. We take advantage of a unique data-set collected in Cameroon among HIV positive patients and estimate the relationship between HAART treatment and (intended) pregnancy. HAART raises life expectancy, improves health outcomes and lowers the risk of transmission. These direct health benefits imply rational and behavioral responses in pregnancy as it allows individuals to accomplish their desired number of children. I con- duct a multivariate regression based on Before-After analysis to evaluate the effect of the 2007 policy of scaling-up HAART treatment in Cameroon on intended pregnancy. With respect to women not yet on treatment, HAART increased the propensity to pregnancy after one year with the coefficient increasing over time after 2007, when treatment was rendered free of charge. The results also show that pregnancy response is highest among people who have lower number of children pre-treatment and with CD4 counts above the average at treatment initiation. This means early treatment initiation, which results in better health outcomes, enhances pregnancy with respect to women who were too sick at treatment initiation. I discuss and test the different mechanisms that driving the behavioral response in YaoundŽ-Cameroon and exclude those that are less evident from the data.
    Keywords: HIV/AIDS, fertility, risky behavior
    Date: 2012–05
  3. By: Giacomo De Luca (University of York); Jean-François Maystadt (University of Luxembourg, Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance); Petros G. Sekeris (Center for Research in the Economics of Development, University of Namur)
    Abstract: In this paper we show that in highly unequal societies, different societal groups may support a rent-seeking dicator serving their interests better than the median voter in a democratic regime. Importantly, it is the stakes of dictator in the economy, in the form of capital ownership, that drives the support of individuals. In particular, in highly societies ruled by a capital-rich dictator endowed with the power to tax and appropriate at will, the elites support dictatorial policies that generate higher growth rates than the ones obtained under democracy. Such support arises despite the total absence of checks and balances on the dictator.
    Keywords: Regime type, capital distribution, growth
    JEL: O11 D72 H41
    Date: 2012–09
  4. By: Xiaobing Wang; Adam Ozanne
    Abstract: Abstract There are currently two contrasting approaches towards aid policy in Africa: that followed by the West is well known for its conditionality, selectivity and focus on direct financial support, while the approach adopted by China eschews conditionality and concentrates on infrastructure building. The Chinese approach has been criticised for its failure to create direct employment and because, it is argued, its unconditionality hampers good governance in Africa. However, this paper argues that the West faces a dilemma, in that governance and its improvements are endogenous to the economic development of a country. Making aid conditional upon governance therefore unduly penalises countries at the bottom. The Chinese approach, in contrast, avoids this dilemma by directly targeting constraints to development; it may therefore be more effective in generating long-run growth, which may in turn foster good governance.
    Date: 2012
  5. By: Costas Meghir (Economics Department, Yale University); Renata Narita (World Bank); Jean-Marc Robin (Sciences Po)
    Abstract: It is often argued that informal labor markets in developing countries promote growth by reducing the impact of regulation. On the other hand informality may reduce the amount of social protection offered to workers. We extend the wage-posting framework of Burdett and Mortensen (1998) to allow heterogeneous firms to decide whether to locate in the formal or the informal sector, as well as set wages. Workers engage in both off the job and on the job search. We estimate the model using Brazilian micro data and evaluate the labor market and welfare effects of policies towards informality.
    Keywords: entrepreneurship; credit constraints; business training; consulting; managerial capital
    JEL: J24 J3 J42 J6 O17
    Date: 2012–09
  6. By: Haroon Bhorat; Carlene Van Der Westhuizen; Sumayya Goga (Development Policy Research Unit; Director and Professor)
    Abstract: The literature on the union wage gap in South Africa is extensive, spanning a range of datasets and methodologies. There is however, little consensus on the appropriate method to correct for the endogeneity of union membership or the size of the union wage gap. Furthermore, there are very few studies on the bargaining council wage premium in South Africa due to the lack of data on coverage of employees under bargaining council agreements. Our study, using 2005 Labour Force Survey data, firstly reconsiders the union wage gap controlling for both firm-level and job characteristics. When correcting for endogeniety of union status through a two-stage selection model and including firm size, the type of employment, and non-wage benefits in our wage estimations, we find a much lower union wage premium for African workers in the formal sector than premia reported in some previous studies. Secondly, our study estimates bargaining council wage premia for the private and public sectors. We find that extension procedures are present in both the private and public bargaining council systems, but that unions negotiate for additional gains for their members at the plant-level. The total estimated wage premium for formal sector African workers in the public sector who are both union members and covered by bargaining council agreements stands at 22 percent. Furthermore, there is some evidence that unions negotiate for awards for their members in the private sector, irrespective of bargaining council coverage. Acknowledgements: The research, from which this paper emanates, was commissioned and funded by the Department of Labour (DoL).
    Keywords: Union; Bargaining Council; Wage Premium; PSCBC; South Africa
    JEL: A1
    Date: 2012–07
  7. By: Haroon Bhorat; Sumayya Goga (Development Policy Research Unit; Director and Professor)
    Abstract: We estimate the gender wage gap for Africans in post-apartheid South Africa over the 2001 to 2007 period. Separate male and female earnings equations yields no significant decline in the conditional wage gap, regardless of whether we correct for selection into the labour force and employment or not. Notwithstanding this, the data appear to reveal a decline in the “explained” proportion of the gap with no significant change in the “unexplained” proportion of the gap. Nevertheless, the “unexplained” proportion or discrimination accounted for 71 percent of the gap in 2007 when using the uncorrected estimates (and the male wage structure as the non-discriminatory norm) thus highlighting the presence, arguably, of substantial discrimination against African women in the post-apartheid South African labour market. We note though that the assumption that the “unexplained” component accounts for discrimination has been criticized for a number of reasons, including the fact that women may self-select into certain types of jobs, the impact of gender-based pre-labour market factors as well as omitted variable bias. Finally, we find that using the either the male or pooled wage structure as the non-discriminatory wage structure provides similar results when undertaking the decomposition. In turn, using the female wage structure results in the harshest results as far as gender discrimination is concerned. Acknowledgements: The authors would like to thank Dorrit Posel for comments on earlier versions of this study.
    Keywords: Gender; Wage Gap; Discrimination; South Africa; Earnings
    JEL: J16 J31
    Date: 2012–07
  8. By: Emran, M. Shahe (George Washington University); Maret-Rakotondrazaka, Fenohasina (George Washington University); Smith, Stephen C. (George Washington University)
    Abstract: Using household data from Vietnam, we provide evidence on the effects of education on freedom of spouse choice. We use war disruptions and spatial indicators of schooling supply as instruments. The point estimates indicate that a year of additional schooling reduces the probability of an arranged marriage by about 14 percentage points for an individual with eight years of schooling. We also estimate bounds on the effect of education on arranged marriage when exclusion restrictions are violated locally (the lower bound is six to seven percentage points). The impact of education is strong for women, but significantly weaker for men.
    Keywords: arranged marriage, education, schooling, freedom of choice, development, Vietnam, Red River delta, labour markets, social interactions
    JEL: I2 O12 D1 J12
    Date: 2012–09
  9. By: Zimmermann, Laura (University of Michigan)
    Abstract: Son preference is widespread in a number of developing countries. Anecdotal evidence suggests that women may contribute to the persistence of this phenomenon because they derive substantial long-run non-monetary benefits from giving birth to a son in the form of an improvement in their intra-household position. This paper tests this hypothesis in the Indian context. The results suggest that for the most part there is little evidence of substantial female benefits, and any positive impacts of having a son disappear after six months. This implies that the female-specific self-interest in a son is probably much lower than commonly assumed.
    Keywords: son preference, non-monetary benefits, bargaining power, intra-household allocation, India
    JEL: D13 J12 J13 J16
    Date: 2012–09
  10. By: Baez, Javier E. (World Bank); Camacho, Adriana (Universidad de los Andes); Conover, Emily (Hamilton College); Zárate, Román Andrés (Universidad de los Andes)
    Abstract: This paper estimates the effect of enrollment in a large scale anti-poverty program in Colombia, Familias en Acción (FA), on intent to vote, turnout and electoral choice. For identification we use discontinuities in program eligibility and variation in program enrollment across voting booths. We find that FA has a positive effect on political participation in the 2010 presidential elections by increasing the probability that program beneficiaries register to vote and cast a ballot, particularly among women. Regarding voter's choice, we find that program participants expressed a stronger preference for the official party that implemented and expanded the program. Overall, the findings show that voters respond to targeted transfers and that these transfers can foster support for incumbents, thus making the case for designing political and legislative mechanisms, as the laws recently passed by the Colombian government, that avoid successful anti-poverty schemes from being captured by political patronage.
    Keywords: Conditional Cash Transfers, voting behavior, Colombia
    JEL: O10 D72 P16
    Date: 2012–09
  11. By: Nguyen, Quang (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore); Villeval, Marie Claire (CNRS, GATE); Xu, Hui (CNRS, GATE)
    Abstract: We study the influence of risk and time preferences on trust and trustworthiness by conducting a field experiment in Vietnamese villages and by estimating the parameters of the Cumulative Prospect Theory and of quasi-hyperbolic time preferences. We find that while probability sensitivity or risk aversion do not affect trust, loss aversion influences trust indirectly by lowering the expectations of return. Also, more risk averse and less present biased participants are found to be trustworthier. The experience of receiving remittances influences behavior and a longer exposure to a collectivist economy tend to reduce trust and trustworthiness.
    Keywords: trust, trustworthiness, risk preferences, time preferences, Cumulative Prospect Theory, Vietnam, field experiment
    JEL: C91 C93 D81 D90 O10 O53
    Date: 2012–09
  12. By: Chen, Yuanyuan (Shanghai University of Finance and Economics); Feng, Shuaizhang (Shanghai University of Finance and Economics)
    Abstract: A significant proportion of migrant children in China are not able to attend public schools for lack of local household registration (HuKou), and turn to privately-operated migrant schools. This paper examines the consequences of such a partially involuntary school choice, using survey data and standardized test scores from field work conducted in Shanghai. We find that migrant students who are unable to enroll in public schools perform significantly worse than their more fortunate counterparts in both Chinese and Mathematics. We also use parental satisfaction and parental assessment of school quality as alternative measures of the educational outcome and find similar results. Our study suggests that access to public schools is the key factor determining the quality of education that migrant children receive.
    Keywords: education of migrant children, migrant school, standardized test score
    JEL: I28 J15 O15
    Date: 2012–09
  13. By: Martinsson, Peter (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Pham-Khanh, Nam (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Villegas-Palacio, Clara (Dept of Geosciences and Environment,)
    Abstract: Understanding the motivations behind people’s voluntary contributions to public goods is crucial for the broader issues of economic and social development. By using the experimental design of Fischbacher et al. (2001), we investigate the distribution of contribution types in two developing countries with very high collectivism rating – Colombia and Vietnam – and compare our findings with those previously found in developed countries. We also investigate the effect of introducing disclosure of contribution on the distribution of contribution types and on the contribution itself. Overall, our experiments show that the distribution of contribution types remains unaffected by the disclosure of contributions and, on average, is similar both in the two countries and when compared with previous findings with the exception of proportion of free-riders.<p>
    Keywords: Conditional cooperation; Disclosure; Experiment; Public Goods.
    JEL: C72 C92 H41
    Date: 2012–09–25
  14. By: Anderson, Kym; Bruckner, Markus
    Abstract: To what extent has Sub-Saharan Africa's slow economic growth over the past five decades been due to price and trade policies that discouraged production of agricultural relative to non-agricultural tradables? This paper uses a new set of estimates of policy induced distortions to relative agricultural prices to address this question econometrically. First, the authors test if these policy distortions respond to economic growth, using rainfall and international commodity price shocks as instrumental variables. They find that on impact there is no significant response of relative agricultural price distortions to changes in real GDP per capita growth. Then, the authors test the reverse proposition and find a statistically significant and sizable negative effect of relative agricultural price distortions on the growth rate of Sub-Saharan African countries. The fixed effects estimates yield that, during the 1960-2005 period, a ten percentage points increase in distortions to relative agricultural prices decreased the region's real GDP per capita growth rate by about half a percentage point per annum.
    Keywords: Economic Theory&Research,Achieving Shared Growth,Inequality,Markets and Market Access,Emerging Markets
    Date: 2012–09–01
  15. By: Chase, Claire; Do, Quy-Toan
    Abstract: Handwashing with soap, which has been shown to reduce diarrhea in young children by as much as 48 percent, is frequently mentioned as one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to save children's lives. Yet rates of handwashing remain very low throughout the world. Handwashing with soap campaigns are de rigueur in developing countries, but little is known about their effectiveness. Few have been rigorously evaluated, and none on a large-scale. This paper evaluates a large-scale handwashing campaign in three provinces of Vietnam in 2010. Exposure to the campaign resulted in a slight increase in the availability of handwashing materials in the household, and caregivers in the treatment group were more likely to report washing hands at some of the times emphasized by the campaign. However, observed handwashing with soap at these times is low, and there isn't any difference between the treatment and control groups. As a result, no impact on health or productivity is found. These results suggest that even under seemingly optimal conditions, where knowledge and access to soap and water are not main constraints, behavior change campaigns that take place on a large scale face tradeoffs in terms of intensity and effectiveness.
    Keywords: Health Monitoring&Evaluation,Hygiene Promotion and Social Marketing,Food&Beverage Industry,Disease Control&Prevention,Population Policies
    Date: 2012–09–01
  16. By: Dlamini, Menzie S.
    Abstract: Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and the developing world have over the years attracted and received billions of US dollars (valued at over US$4 billion annually worldwide) in subsidies and concessionary funds. These subsidies are used to capitalize, promote growth, and help improve efficiency, operations and performance of newly established MFIs. At face value these interventions seem positive, yet studies have shown that they can be counterproductive in terms of their effect on the performance, efficiency and self-sustainability of the MFIs. This research addresses this issue by identifying four determinants of MFI’s performance and analysing the effect that subsidies have on them. A quantitative approach was used in the analysis in which the financial data of 92 MFIs were estimated using panel data estimation. The method of variable selection was based on the procedure used by Nawaz (2010). This method of determining the relationship between selected performance and sustainability indicators and subsidy was modelled on the Subsidy Dependant Index (SDI) method of analysis developed by Yaron (1992a) and the Return on Asset (ROA), Operational Self-Sufficiency (OSS) and Financial Self-Sufficiency (FSS) methods of analysis developed by the SEEP Network (2005). The summary results of the analysis showed that the majority of MFIs (90.22%) were not sustainable nor were they found to be profitable. However, the results show that all the institutions were operationally self-sufficient and that, on average, MFIs in SSA charged higher interest rates than MFIs in other parts of the world. The average OSS was 136.01% showing that MFIs are operationally self-sufficient. However, the average FSS value was ix 74.32% reflecting that the MFIs are not able to raise enough revenue to cover their capital and indirect costs which would ultimately result in them running out of equity funds. The inclusion of subsidies in the sustainability regressions resulted in a decline in the ability of the MFIs to attain operational and financial self-sufficiency, thus showing the negative effect subsidies have on the sustainability of MFIs. Inflation and interest rates charged on loans also had a negative effect on sustainability as they resulted in an increase in costs and a decline in the number of low income clients. MFIs located in wealthier countries were found to be more efficient because of the lower costs associated with having wealthier clients who have larger loan sizes. MFIs in lower income countries have to overcome limitations of weak infrastructures, low population densities and rural markets which increase operating costs. Older institutions were found to more likely be sustainable than new and young MFIs as expected because of their improved efficiency and productivity and also because they have more experience and are therefore better equipped to overcome challenges. However, by adding subsidy in the analysis the results show that the level of efficiency of MFIs is reduced. The results also show that with increased maturity MFIs are found to be more productive, however, when subsidies are included in the finances the levels of productivity will decline as costs increase. NBFIs are the most suitable business model to practice in MFIs in Africa according to the findings which reflect that NBFIs are more profitable and efficient than any of the other business models in the sample. However, cooperatives were found to be the most productive business model as they have a stronger borrower to staff ratio than the other institutional types. Furthermore, cooperatives and NBFIs tend to have clients who are better off and therefore can afford to take larger sized loans, unlike clients of NGOs who are poor who struggle to have a stable income.
    Keywords: Agricultural Finance,
    Date: 2012–05
  17. By: Xin Wang; Yi Wen
    Abstract: China’s over 25% aggregate household saving rate is one of the highest in the world. One popular view attributes the high saving rate to fast-rising housing prices in China. However, cross-sectional data do not show a significant relationship between housing prices and household saving rates. This article uses a simple consumption-saving model to explain why rising housing prices per se cannot explain China’s high household saving rate. Although borrowing constraints and demographic changes can translate housing prices to the aggregate saving rate, quantitative simulations of our model using Chinese time-series data on household income, housing prices, and demographics indicate that rising mortgage costs can increase the aggregate saving rate by at most 2 to 4 percentage points in the best down-payment structure.
    Keywords: China - Economic conditions ; Housing - China ; Saving and investment - China
    Date: 2012
  18. By: Sandra Sandra (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies); Johannes Vüllers (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies)
    Abstract: While mediation efforts in violent conflicts often fail, the academic literature on mediation has long ignored both this phenomenon and its consequences. This paper aims to fill this significant knowledge gap by examining the conditions under which the failure of mediation leads to an escalation of civil war. Based on the literature on bargaining, we argue that the degree of negotiability of the conflict parties’ strategic objectives, as well as the relative weight of hardliners and moderates within those conflict parties, influence the likelihood of escalation after mediation failure. A plausibility test carried out for Norway’s failed mediation in the Sri Lankan civil war confirms the usefulness of our model. In particular, the suspension of negotiations in April 2003 led to a shift towards less negotiable strategic objectives for both conflict parties and to a strengthening of hardliners within the government. This contributed to the escalation of the conflict, up to its eventual termination in May 2009.
    Keywords: Sri Lanka, mediation, civil war, mediation failure, conflict parties
    Date: 2012–08
  19. By: Alexander Stroh (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies); Sebastian Elischer (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies); Gero Erdmann (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies)
    Abstract: In the early 1990s most African countries carried out extensive reforms of their electoral regimes. Adopting a historical institutionalist approach, this paper critically examines the role of institutional path dependence in accounting for the setup of six African electoral regimes. For this purpose, we distinguish between different types of path dependence. The paper further analyzes the extent to which the development of electoral institutions contributed to the regime-type outcome (democratic/hybrid/autocratic). The main emphasis herein is on so-called “hybrid regimes;” in other words, regimes existing in the grey zone between democracy and autocracy. The paper finds that, while institutional path dependence has a limited but important impact on the setup of the electoral regimes, it is ultimately the process of decision-making during critical junctures that accounts for the regime type outcome. Hybrid regimes lack long-term institutional ownership.
    Keywords: hybrid regimes, democratization, historical institutionalism, electoral institutions, Africa
    Date: 2012–06
  20. By: Fenske, James
    Abstract: Motivated by a simple model, I use DHS data to test nine hypotheses about the prevalence and decline of African polygamy. First, greater female involvement in agriculture does not increase polygamy. Second, past inequality better predicts polygamy today than does current inequality. Third, the slave trade only predicts polygamy across broad regions. Fourth, modern female education does not reduce polygamy. Colonial schooling does. Fifth, economic growth has eroded polygamy. Sixth and seventh, rainfall shocks and war increase polygamy, though their effects are small. Eighth, polygamy varies smoothly over borders, national bans notwithstanding. Finally, falling child mortality has reduced polygamy.
    Keywords: Africa; polygamy; ethnic institutions
    JEL: N57 O10
    Date: 2012–09
  21. By: Enowbi Batuo, Michael; Mlambo, Kupukile
    Abstract: While financial liberalisation is considered to be good for economic growth in that it promotes the development of the financial sector, banking crises on the other hand tend to be inimical for economic growth. Moreover, banking crises tend to be preceded by financial liberalisation, as noted in a number of studies. This is because financial liberalisation tends to induce greater risk-taking behaviour by agents, thus leading to banking crises. In this paper we study the effect of financial liberalisation and banking crises on the economic performance of African countries during the period covering 1985 to 2010. Using a treatment effect, two step methods and a panel probit method, our results show that banking crises have a negative impact on economic growth meanwhile financial liberalisation tends to reduce the likelihood of banking crises in African countries.
    Keywords: O16; O47;G23; O55
    JEL: O16 N17 O4
    Date: 2012–06
  22. By: Patrick Francois; Ilia Rainer; Francesco Trebbi
    Abstract: This paper presents new evidence on the power sharing layout of national political elites in a panel of African countries, most of them autocracies. We present a model of coalition formation across ethnic groups and structurally estimate it employing data on the ethnicity of cabinet ministers since independence. As opposed to the view of a single ethnic elite monolithically controlling power, we show that African ruling coalitions are large and that political power is allocated proportionally to population shares across ethnic groups. This holds true even restricting the analysis to the subsample of the most powerful ministerial posts. We argue that the likelihood of revolutions from outsiders and the threat of coups from insiders are major forces explaining such allocations. Further, over-representation of the ruling ethnic group is quantitatively substantial, but not different from standard formateur premia in parliamentary democracies. We explore theoretically how proportional allocation for the elites of each group may still result in misallocations in the non-elite population.
    JEL: H1 O38 O55
    Date: 2012–09
  23. By: Ilia Rainer; Francesco Trebbi
    Abstract: The study of autocracies and weakly institutionalized countries is plagued by scarcity of information about the relative strength of different players within the political system. This paper presents novel data on the composition of government coalitions in a sample of fifteen post-colonial African countries suited to this task. We emphasize the role of the executive branch as the central fulcrum of all national political systems in our sample, especially relative to other institutional bodies such as the legislative assembly. Leveraging on the impressive body of work documenting the crucial role of ethnic fragmentation as a main driver of political and social friction in Africa, the paper further details the construction of ethnic composition measures for executive cabinets. We discuss how this novel source of information may help shed light on the inner workings of typically opaque African political elites.
    JEL: H1 O38 O55
    Date: 2012–09

This nep-dev issue is ©2012 by Mark Lee. 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.