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The Distributional impact of dams: Evidence from cropland productivity in Africa


  • Eric Strobl

    (Department of Economics, Ecole Polytechnique - Polytechnique - X - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Robert Strobl

    (IES - JRC Institute for Environment and Sustainability - JRC - European Commission - Joint Research Centre [Ispra])


We examine the distributional impact of major 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 in Africa caused a net loss of 0.96 per cent in productivity over our sample period (1981-2000). However, further dam construction in appropriate areas could potentially lead to large increases in productivity even if rainfall is not plenty.

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  • Eric Strobl & Robert Strobl, 2009. "The Distributional impact of dams: Evidence from cropland productivity in Africa," Working Papers hal-00392381, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-00392381
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    dams; agricultural productivity; Africa;

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