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The Distributional Impact of Large Dams: Evidence from Cropland Productivity in Africa

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  • Eric Strobl

Abstract

We examine the distributional impact of large dams on cropland productivity in Africa. As our unit of analysis we use a scientifically 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, cropland within the vicinity tends to suffer productivity losses during droughts. Overall our results suggest that because of rainfall shortages dams caused a net loss of 0.96 percent in production in Africa over our sample period (1981-2000). However, further dam construction in appropriate areas could potentially lead to large increases in cropland production even if rainfall is not plenty.

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Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series Working Papers CEB with number 09-043.RS.

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Length: 36 p.
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published by:
Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:09-043

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Keywords: dams; agricultural productivity; Africa;

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. de la Grandville,Olivier, 2009. "Economic Growth," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521898010, April.
  4. 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.
  5. de la Grandville,Olivier, 2009. "Economic Growth," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521725200, April.
  6. 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.
  7. Ravallion, Martin, 1994. "Measuring Social Welfare with and without Poverty Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 359-64, May.
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