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The distributional impact of large dams: Evidence from cropland productivity in Africa

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  • Strobl, Eric
  • Strobl, Robert O.

Abstract

We examine the distributional impact of large dams on cropland productivity in Africa. As our unit of analysis we use a hydrology based spatial breakdown of the continent that allows one to exactly define regions in terms of their upstream/downstream relationship at a highly disaggregated level. We then use satellite data to derive measures of cropland productivity within these areas. Our econometric analysis shows that while regions downstream benefit from large dams, no beneficial effects accrue to cropland within the vicinity. Moreover, we find that the productivity enhancing impact of upstream dams is dependent on the local climate. Overall our results suggest that upstream dams have quantitatively on average provided up to 12% of the minimum daily per capita amount of kilocalorie needs in downstream communities and increased agricultural production by 1%.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 96 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (November)
Pages: 432-450

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:96:y:2011:i:2:p:432-450

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Keywords: Dams Agricultural productivity Africa;

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  1. Salvador Barrios & Luisito Bertinelli & Eric Strobl, 2010. "Trends in Rainfall and Economic Growth in Africa: A Neglected Cause of the African Growth Tragedy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 350-366, May.
  2. Chen, Shaohua & Ravallion, Martin, 2008. "The developing world is poorer than we thought, but no less successful in the fight against poverty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4703, The World Bank.
  3. Driscoll, John C., 2004. "Does bank lending affect output? Evidence from the U.S. states," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 451-471, April.
  4. de la Grandville,Olivier, 2009. "Economic Growth," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521725200, November.
  5. de la Grandville,Olivier, 2009. "Economic Growth," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521898010, November.
  6. Ravallion, Martin, 1994. "Measuring Social Welfare with and without Poverty Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 359-64, May.
  7. John C. Driscoll & Aart C. Kraay, 1998. "Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimation With Spatially Dependent Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(4), pages 549-560, November.
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