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Transportation Infrastructure and Development in Ghana

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Author Info

  • Rémi Jedwab

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science - LSE)

  • Alexandre Moradi

    (Sussex University - Sussex University)

Abstract

We study the impact of transportation infrastructure on agriculture and development in colonial Ghana. Two railway lines were built between 1901 and 1923 to connect the coast to mining areas and the large hinterland city of Kumasi. This unintendedly opened vast expanses of tropical forest to cocoa cultivation, allowing Ghana to become the world's largest producer. This attracted migrants to producing areas and the economic surplus drove urbanization. Using data at a very fine spatial level, we find a strong effect of railroad connectivity on cocoa production due to reduced transportation costs. We then show that the economic boom in cocoa-producing areas was associated with demographic growth and urbanization. We _nd no spurious effect from lines that were not built yet, and lines that were planned but never built. We show that our results are robust to considering nearest neighbor estimators. Lastly, railway construction has durably transformed the economic geography of Ghana, as railway districts are more developed today, despite thirty years of marked decline in rail transportation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE Working Papers with number halshs-00607207.

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Date of creation: Jul 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00607207

Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: http://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00607207
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Related research

Keywords: Railroads ; Trade Costs ; Urbanization ; Africa;

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References

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  1. Chiara Cazzuffi & Alexander Moradi, 2010. "Why do cooperatives fail? Big versus small in Ghanaian Cocoa Producers' Societies, 1930-36," Working Paper Series 0110, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Four lessons from railways in Ghana
    by Johan Fourie in Johan Fourie's Blog on 2012-11-27 19:29:39
  2. High-speed rail in South Africa: too costly to consider
    by Johan Fourie in Johan Fourie's Blog on 2013-06-02 07:57:55
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Cited by:
  1. Margaret S. McMillan & William A. Masters & Harounan Kazianga, 2014. "Demographic Pressure and Institutional Change: Village-Level Response to Rural Population Growth in Burkina Faso," NBER Chapters, in: African Successes: Human Capital National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Margaret S. McMillan & William A. Masters & Harounan Kazianga, 2011. "Rural Demography, Public Services and Land Rights in Africa: A Village-Level Analysis in Burkina Faso," NBER Working Papers 17718, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Strobl, Eric & Valfort, Marie-Anne, 2012. "The Effect of Weather-Induced Internal Migration on Local Labor Markets: Evidence from Uganda," IZA Discussion Papers 6923, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Margaret S. McMillan & William A. Masters & Harounan Kazianga, 2013. "Disease Control, Demographic Change and Institutional Development in Africa," Economics Working Paper Series 1302, Oklahoma State University, Department of Economics and Legal Studies in Business.
  5. Leander Heldring & James A. Robinson, 2012. "Colonialism and Economic Development in Africa," NBER Working Papers 18566, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Thor Berger & Kerstin Enflo, 2013. "Locomotives of Local Growth: The Short- and Long-Term Impact of Railroads in Sweden," Working Papers 0042, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).

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