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Disease Control, Demographic Change and Institutional Development in Africa

  • Margaret S. McMillan
  • William A. Masters
  • Harounan Kazianga

This paper addresses the role of tropical disease in rural demography and land use rights, using data from Onchocerciasis (river blindness) control in Burkina Faso. We combine a new survey of village elders with historical census data for 1975-2006 and geocoded maps of treatment under the regional Onchocerciasis Control Program (OCP). The OCP ran from 1975 to 2002, first spraying rivers to stop transmission and then distributing medicine to help those already infected. Controlling for time and village fixed effects, we find that villages in treated areas acquired larger populations and also had more cropland transactions, fewer permits required for cropland transactions, and more regulation of common property pasture and forest. These effects are robust to numerous controls and tests for heterogeneity across the sample, including time-varying region fixed effects. Descriptive statistics suggest that treated villages also acquired closer access to electricity and telephone service, markets, wells and primary schools, with no difference in several other variables. These results are consistent with both changes in productivity and effects of population size on public institutions.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19245.

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Date of creation: Jul 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Kazianga, Harounan & Masters, William A. & McMillan, Margaret S., 2014. "Disease control, demographic change and institutional development in Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 313-326.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19245
Note: DEV HE
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