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Eliminating Uncertainty in Market Access: The Impact of New Bridges in Rural Nicaragua

Author

Listed:
  • Kevin Donovan

    (University of Notre Dame)

  • Wyatt Brooks

    (University of Notre Dame)

Abstract

We estimate the impact of new bridges in rural Nicaraguan villages facing seasonal floods that unpredictably eliminate access to outside markets. We collect detailed annual household surveys over three years and conduct weekly telephone followups with a subset of households for sixty-four weeks, both before and after construction. This information is collected in villages where bridges are built, and in comparable villages where no bridge was built for only engineering-related reasons. We find that bridges eliminate uncertainty in market access driven by floods: in absence of a bridge, household income falls significantly during floods. Bridges completely eliminate this effect. Compared to households in villages where no bridges are built, bridges cause substantial reallocation of activities between farming and wage work. There are also significant effects on agricultural choices: increased fertilizer spending, increased yields on farms, and lower crop storage. We develop a model of occupational choice and risky farm investment, and show that these results are a rational response to reduced market income risk from the bridges. We provide evidence that these results are not due to lower trade costs outside of flooding periods, nor due to looser collateral constraints.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin Donovan & Wyatt Brooks, 2017. "Eliminating Uncertainty in Market Access: The Impact of New Bridges in Rural Nicaragua," 2017 Meeting Papers 1607, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed017:1607
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. “Eliminating Uncertainty in Market Access: The Impact of New Bridges in Rural Nicaragua,” W. Brooks & K. Donovan (2018)
      by afinetheorem in A Fine Theorem on 2018-07-24 07:46:30

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    Cited by:

    1. Dhingra, Swati & Tenreyro, Silvana, 2020. "The Rise of Agribusiness and the Distributional Consequences of Policies on Intermediated Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 14384, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Wyatt Brooks & Kevin Donovan, 2020. "Eliminating Uncertainty in Market Access: The Impact of New Bridges in Rural Nicaragua," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 88(5), pages 1965-1997, September.
    3. Evan Thomas, 2019. "Toward a New Field of Global Engineering," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(14), pages 1-11, July.
    4. Kyle Shirley & Abbie Noriega & Davey Levin & Christina Barstow, 2021. "Identifying Water Crossings in Rural Liberia and Rwanda Using Remote and Field-Based Methods," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(2), pages 1-18, January.
    5. Dhingra, Swati & Tenreyro, Silvana, 2020. "The rise of agribusiness and the distributional consequences of policies on intermediated trade," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 108418, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Agha Ali Akram & Shyamal Chowdhury & Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, 2017. "Effects of Emigration on Rural Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 23929, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Gharad Bryan & Edward Glaeser & Nick Tsivanidis, 2019. "Cities in the Developing World," NBER Working Papers 26390, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Evan Thomas & Sally Gerster & Lambert Mugabo & Huguens Jean & Tim Oates, 2020. "Computer vision supported pedestrian tracking: A demonstration on trail bridges in rural Rwanda," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(10), pages 1-17, October.
    9. Wouter (W.) Zant, 2017. "Bridges," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-117/V, Tinbergen Institute, revised 06 Apr 2019.

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