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Transportation Infrastructure and Development in Ghana

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  • Rémi Jedwab

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics, LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris)

  • Alexandre Moradi

    (University of Sussex)

Abstract

We study the impact of transportation infrastructure on agriculture and development in colonial Ghana. Two railway lines were built between 1901 and 1923 to connect the coast to mining areas and the large hinterland city of Kumasi. This unintendedly opened vast expanses of tropical forest to cocoa cultivation, allowing Ghana to become the world's largest producer. This attracted migrants to producing areas and the economic surplus drove urbanization. Using data at a very fine spatial level, we find a strong effect of railroad connectivity on cocoa production due to reduced transportation costs. We then show that the economic boom in cocoa-producing areas was associated with demographic growth and urbanization. We _nd no spurious effect from lines that were not built yet, and lines that were planned but never built. We show that our results are robust to considering nearest neighbor estimators. Lastly, railway construction has durably transformed the economic geography of Ghana, as railway districts are more developed today, despite thirty years of marked decline in rail transportation.

Suggested Citation

  • Rémi Jedwab & Alexandre Moradi, 2011. "Transportation Infrastructure and Development in Ghana," Working Papers halshs-00607207, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00607207
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00607207
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chiara Cazzuffi & Alexander Moradi, 2010. "Why do cooperatives fail? Big versus small in Ghanaian Cocoa Producers' Societies, 1930-36," Working Paper Series 0110, Department of Economics, University of Sussex Business School.
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    Cited by:

    1. Berger, Thor & Enflo, Kerstin, 2017. "Locomotives of local growth: The short- and long-term impact of railroads in Sweden," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 124-138.
    2. Morten Jerven, 2014. "A West African experiment: constructing a GDP series for colonial Ghana, 1891–1950," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(4), pages 964-992, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Railroads; Trade Costs; Urbanization; Africa;

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