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Unintended Impacts: How roads change health and nutrition for ethnic minorities in Congo

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  • Jacqueline Doremus

    () (Department of Economics, California Polytechnic State University)

Abstract

We investigate how a road connection in a remote area of Congo changes hunger and illness for ethnic minorities. Ethnic minorities’ production activities are highly local, making it hard to construct a valid counter-factual. We exploit a natural experiment: a river boundary between two forests, one of which builds roads to satisfy eco-certification. We find the road increases trade and leads to the export of farmed food products. People and households increase production and specialize. Ethnic minorities, net buyers of exported food during this season, face higher prices and lower real wages. We find the road increases their frequency of hunger and illness. In Central Africa, hunting restrictions accompany roads to prevent over exploitation of fauna. We find the restrictions reduce hunting effort for all households. Households shift consumption to fish but, on net, consume protein less frequently, with non-fisher households seeing the largest decreases.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacqueline Doremus, 2017. "Unintended Impacts: How roads change health and nutrition for ethnic minorities in Congo," Working Papers 1702, California Polytechnic State University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpl:wpaper:1702
    as

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    File URL: https://www.cob.calpoly.edu/undergrad/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2017/06/paper1702.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2017
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ito, Takahiro, 2009. "Caste discrimination and transaction costs in the labor market: Evidence from rural North India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 292-300, March.
    2. Shahidur R. Khandker & Zaid Bakht & Gayatri B. Koolwal, 2009. "The Poverty Impact of Rural Roads: Evidence from Bangladesh," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(4), pages 685-722, July.
    3. World Bank, 2004. "Sustaining Forests : A Development Strategy, Appendixes (from CD-ROM)," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14952, January.
    4. World Bank, 2004. "Sustaining Forests : A Development Strategy," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14951, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    ethnic inequality; rural roads; nutrition; poverty; Africa; Congo;

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade

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