IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Taille des villes, urbanisation et spécialisations économiques; Une analyse sur micro-données exhaustives des 10 000 localités maliennes


  • Claire Bernard


  • Sandrine Mesplé-Somps

    () (DIAL, IRD, Paris)

  • Gilles Spielvogel

    () (UMR Développement et Société, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)


This paper uses exhaustive individual-level data from the Malian 1976, 1987 and 1998 censuses to analyze the urbanization process and economic specialization of cities in Mali. We first construct an exhaustive panel data set of the 10,000 Malian localities. In order to analyze urban areas that make sense from an economic point of view, we develop a consistent method to construct functional urban agglomerations, based on a density threshold for contiguous localities. Our definition of "cities" therefore abstracts from any administrative criteria. These data enable us to study the dynamics of the complete distribution of urban and rural localities from 1976 to 1998. We show that the urbanization process in Mali is mainly due to the spatial extension and population growth of Bamako, the capital city and to the demographic growth of small rural market towns. Consequently, the density of the Malian urban system is very low and urban primacy very high. We then turn to an econometric analysis of the determinants of non-agricultural employment growth between 1987 and 1998 by locality. We focus on two main factors: population density, which may induce agglomeration externalities that attract workers and firms; and the degree of specialization of economic activities that could capture industry level externalities. Controlling for a range of other characteristics like distance to the road network, administrative status, physical geography, and rainfall shocks, we show that total employment has been spreading out mainly due to the spreading out of primary employment. Primary sector dynamic is impacted by market access. Services and industry jobs cluster in cities and small towns, due mainly to public infrastructure amenities rather than urbanization externalities or sectoral externalities, the latter being not significant and the former significant but weak. _________________________________ A partir de données exhaustives des recensements maliens de la population de 1976, 1987 et 1998, cette étude analyse le processus d’urbanisation et de spécialisation économique des 10 000 localités maliennes. Grâce à un travail d’appariement minutieux, rarement entrepris même dans les pays développés, nous constituons un panel de l’ensemble des localités et nous définissons les agglomérations urbaines en fonction de leurs tailles, densités et contiguïtés. Nous montrons que le Mali est un pays où la concentration des populations s’est opérée prioritairement à Bamako et dans des petits bourgs ruraux et que son tissu urbain est très peu dense. La primatialité du système urbain est alors très élevée. L’analyse de la dynamique de l’emploi révèle que le processus d’urbanisation du Mali s’accompagne plutôt d’un processus de dispersion spatiale des emplois. Cependant, on observe que la croissance des emplois des branches secondaire et tertiaire au sein des villes et des bourgs ruraux de plus de 1 000 habitants dépend positivement de la taille des marchés. Les villes maliennes et leurs concentrations d’habitants permettent donc un dynamisme plus important de l’emploi dans les branches non agricoles. On observe que les zones d’expansion de la culture du coton sont les zones où la croissance démographique des localités est plus forte, sans pour autant que cela occasionne un dynamisme plus important de l’emploi non agricole.

Suggested Citation

  • Claire Bernard & Sandrine Mesplé-Somps & Gilles Spielvogel, 2012. "Taille des villes, urbanisation et spécialisations économiques; Une analyse sur micro-données exhaustives des 10 000 localités maliennes," Working Papers DT/2012/17, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  • Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt201217

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2012
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kate Hampshire, 2002. "Fulani on the Move: Seasonal Economic Migration in the Sahel as a Social Process," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(5), pages 15-36.
    2. Adama Konseiga, 2007. "Household Migration Decisions as Survival Strategy: The Case of Burkina Faso," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 16(2), pages 198-233, March.
    3. Francesca Marchetta, 2008. "Migration and non farm activities as income diversification strategies: the case of Northern Ghana," Working Papers - Economics wp2008_16.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
    4. Beauchemin, Cris & Schoumaker, Bruno, 2005. "Migration to cities in Burkina Faso: Does the level of development in sending areas matter?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(7), pages 1129-1152, July.
    5. Jean-Paul Azam & Flore Gubert, 2005. "Those in Kayes. The Impact of Remittances on Their Recipients in Africa," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 56(6), pages 1331-1358.
    6. Richard Agesa & Jacqueline Agesa, 2005. "Sources of gender difference in rural to urban migration in Kenya: does human capital matter?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(11), pages 705-709.
    7. Cris Beauchemin & Philippe Bocquier, 2004. "Migration and Urbanisation in Francophone West Africa: An Overview of the Recent Empirical Evidence," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 41(11), pages 2245-2272, October.
    8. repec:dau:papers:123456789/4571 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Blandine Destremau & Bruno Lautier, 2002. "Introduction : Femmes en domesticité. Les domestiques du Sud, au Nord et au Sud," Revue Tiers Monde, Programme National Persée, vol. 43(170), pages 249-264.
    10. Fidrmuc, Jan, 2004. "Migration and regional adjustment to asymmetric shocks in transition economies," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 230-247, June.
    11. Bigsten, Arne, 1996. "The Circular Migration of Smallholders in Kenya," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 5(1), pages 1-20, March.
    12. Jacqueline Agesa & Richard Agesa, 1999. "Gender differences in the incidence of rural to urban migration: Evidence from Kenya," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(6), pages 36-58.
    13. Lucas, Robert E B, 1985. "Migration amongst the Botswana," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(378), pages 358-382, June.
    14. repec:dau:papers:123456789/4536 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    urbanization; agglomeration; Mali; Secteur informel; marché du travail; Vietnam; crise financière internationale; politiques publiques.;

    JEL classification:

    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt201217. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Loic Le Pezennec). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.