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

Author

Listed:
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Denis Cogneau & Sandrine Mesplé-Somps & Gilles Spielvogel, 2010. "Development at the border: a study of national integration in post-colonial West Africa," Working Papers DT/2010/12, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  • Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt201012
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Cogneau, Denis & Moradi, Alexander, 2014. "Borders That Divide: Education and Religion in Ghana and Togo Since Colonial Times," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 694-729, September.
    2. Fenske, James, 2015. "African polygamy: Past and present," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 58-73.
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    4. Ryan Bubb, 2013. "The Evolution of Property Rights: State Law or Informal Norms?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(3), pages 555-594.
    5. Fenske, James, 2015. "African polygamy: Past and present," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 58-73.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Institutions; geography; Africa; Institutions; géographie; Afrique.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • P52 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Studies of Particular Economies

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