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Subjective Wealth, Policy Change, and Political Opinions: Evidence from the Cotton Reform in Burkina Faso

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  • Kaminski, Jonathan

Abstract

This paper provides new evidence on the pattern of individual subjective welfare after a natural experiment in policy-led rural development, and aims to identify the causal relationships between subjective welfare and political opinions on the effects of the policy change. I adopt a structural approach by introducing a reference-based utility function that contains a signal of individual participation in the policy change, which is conveyed by political opinions. Using data collected in cotton areas of Burkina Faso, several simultaneous estimations are performed to analyze seemingly covariant political opinions on the recent cotton reform and changes in subjective wealth, while addressing measurement issues related to subjective indicators as well as heterogeneity in latent psychological factors. In addition to absolute and relative indicators of wealth, the large increase in subjective wealth is found to be driven by enthusiastic opinions about the reform’s effects on welfare and poverty alleviation, as well as by technical and institutional changes. The endogenous impact of political opinions on subjective wealth underlies the partial appropriation of the reform’s welfare effects by farmers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Department of Agricultural Economics and Management in its series Discussion Papers with number 119531.

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Date of creation: Nov 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ags:huaedp:119531

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Postal: Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences Hebrew University of Jerusalem, P.O. Box 12, Rehovot 76100
Phone: 08-9481230
Fax: 08-9466267
Web page: http://departments.agri.huji.ac.il/economics/indexe.html
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Keywords: Subjective Wealth; Burkina Faso; Policy Change; Rural Development; Political Opinions.; Environmental Economics and Policy; Political Economy; Resource /Energy Economics and Policy; I32; 013; Q16; Q18;

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  1. Krueger, Alan B. & Schkade, David A., 2007. "The Reliability of Subjective Well-Being Measures," IZA Discussion Papers 2724, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  12. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
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