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Development at the border: a study of national integration in post-colonial West Africa

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Author Info

  • Denis Cogneau

    ()
    (DIAL, IRD, Paris)

  • Sandrine Mesplé-Somps

    ()
    (DIAL, IRD, Paris)

  • Gilles Spielvogel

    ()
    (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, UMR 201)

Abstract

In Africa, boundaries delineated during the colonial era now divide young independent states. By applying regression discontinuity designs to a large set of surveys covering the 1986-2001 period, this paper identifies many large and significant jumps in welfare at the borders between five West-African countries around Cote d'Ivoire. Border discontinuities mirror the differences between country averages with respect to household income, connection to utilities and education. Country of residence often makes a difference, even if distance to capital city has some attenuating power. The results are consistent with a national integration process that is underway but not yet achieved. _________________________________ Les frontières actuelles des pays africains ont été tracées durant la période coloniale et délimitent dorénavant des Etats indépendants. Ces frontières séparent des zones dont les caractéristiques géographiques, anthropologiques et précoloniales sont sensiblement identiques. En appliquant la méthode des régressions avec discontinuité à un large ensemble d'enquêtes auprès des ménages couvrant la période 1986-2001, nous identifions de grands écarts de bien-être aux frontières de cinq pays africains (Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinée et Mali). Ces discontinuités aux frontières reflètent les écarts entre moyennes nationales que ce soit en termes de niveau de vie des ménages, d'éducation ou d'accès à l'électricité. Le pays de résidence fait une différence, même si la distance à la capitale exerce un pouvoir d'atténuation. Ces résultats sont cohérents avec un processus d'intégration nationale en cours quoiqu'inachevé.

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Paper provided by DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation) in its series Working Papers with number DT/2010/12.

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Length: 75 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt201012

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Keywords: Institutions; geography; Africa; Institutions; géographie; Afrique.;

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  1. Schultz, T.P., 1998. "Inequality in the Distribution of Personal Income in the World: How It Is Changing and Why," Papers 784, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  2. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2002. "Borders and Growth," NBER Working Papers 9223, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Elise Huillery, 2009. "History Matters: The Long Term Impact of Colonial Public Investments in French West Africa," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/10262, Sciences Po.
  4. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
  5. Lee, David S., 2008. "Randomized experiments from non-random selection in U.S. House elections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 675-697, February.
  6. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs In Economics," Working Papers 1118, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  7. T. Paul Schultz, 1998. "Inequality in the Distribution of Personal Income in the World: How it is Changing and Why," Working Papers 784, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  8. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-50, November.
  9. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1998. "Troubles with the Neighbours: Africa's Problem, Africa's Opportunity," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 7(1), pages 120-42, March.
  10. Anonymous, 2003. "Competing in the 21st Century," Amber Waves, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, April.
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Cited by:
  1. James Fenske, 2012. "African Polygamy: Past and Present," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2012-20, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Cogneau, Denis & Moradi, Alexander, 2013. "Borders that Divide: Education and Religion in Ghana and Togo since Colonial Times," African Economic History Working Paper 4/2012, African Economic History Network.

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