Development Economics Forum

Mar 3, 2014 at 4:45 AM

Borders, ethnicity and trade

Jenny C. Aker, Michael W. Klein, Stephen A. O'Connell, Muzhe Yang

Journal of Development Economics, Vol. 107

Abstract: This paper uses unique high-frequency data on prices of two agricultural goods to examine the additional costs incurred in cross-border trade between Niger and Nigeria, as well as trade between ethnically distinct markets within Niger. We find a sharp and significant conditional price change of about 20 to 25% between markets immediately across the national border. This price change is significantly lower when markets on either side of the border share a common ethnicity. Within Niger, trade between ethnically distinct regions exhibits an ethnic border effect that is comparable, in its magnitude, to the national border effect between Niger and Nigeria. Our results suggest that having a common ethnicity may reduce the transaction costs associated with agricultural trade, especially the costs associated with communicating and providing credit.



Do elected leaders in a limited democracy have real power? Evidence from rural China

Ren Mu, Xiaobo Zhang

Journal of Development Economics, Vol. 107


Abstract: Do elected leaders in an authoritarian regime have any real power? Does grassroots democracy in a one-party state entail parochial...

Jan 25, 2014 at 9:01 PM

National Institutions and Subnational Development in Africa

Stelios Michalopoulos and Elias Papaioannou

The Quarterly Journal of Economics: Vol.129. Issue 1

Abstract: We investigate the role of national institutions on subnational African development in a novel framework that accounts for both local geography and cultural-genetic traits. We exploit the fact that the political boundaries on the eve of African independence partitioned more than 200 ethnic groups across adjacent countries subjecting similar cultures, residing in homogeneous geographic areas, to different formal institutions. Using both a matching type and a spatial regression discontinuity approach we show that differences in countrywide institutional structures across the national border do not explain within-ethnicity differences in economic performance, as captured by satellite images of light density. The average noneffect of national institutions on ethnic development masks considerable heterogeneity partially driven by the diminishing role of national institutions in areas further from the capital cities.



Local Economic Development, Agglomeration Economies, and the Big Push: 100 Years of Evidence from the Tennessee Valley Authority

Patrick Kline and Enrico Moretti

The Quarterly Journal of Economics: Vol.129. Issue 1

Abstract: We study the long-run effects of one of the most ambitious regional development programs in U.S. history: the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Using as controls authorities that were proposed but never approved by Congress, we find...

Dec 28, 2013 at 8:27 PM

The welfare implications of services liberalization in a developing country

Nizar Jouini, Nooman Rebei

Journal of Development Economics, Vol 106

Abstract : We propose an integrated method based on a two-sector small open economy dynamic and stochastic general equilibrium model to estimate non-tariff barriers and quantify the impact of services liberalization. The major component of trade barriers is explicitly modeled through the introduction of entry-sunk costs. Hence, liberalization is treated assuming a government's policy decision aimed at reducing those costs. Then, we estimate the model using Bayesian techniques for Tunisia and the Euro Area. The paper presents a precise quantitative evaluation of services trade barriers as the difference between entry-sunk costs in Tunisia versus the Euro Area. We find significant welfare benefits in addition to aggregate and sectoral growth gains the Tunisian economy could attain following services liberalization. Surprisingly, the good sector is the one that benefits the most from services liberalization in the short- and long-term horizons.


School feeding programs, intrahousehold allocation and the nutrition of siblings: Evidence from a randomized trial in rural Burkina Faso

Harounan Kazianga, Damien de Walque, Harold Alderman

Journal of Development Economics, Vol...

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