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The Distributional Impact of Large Dams: Evidence from Cropland Productivity in Africa

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  • Eric Strobl

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

  • Eric Strobl, 2009. "The Distributional Impact of Large Dams: Evidence from Cropland Productivity in Africa," Working Papers CEB 09-043.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:09-043
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    1. John C. Driscoll & Aart C. Kraay, 1998. "Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimation With Spatially Dependent Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(4), pages 549-560, November.
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    3. Salvador Barrios & Luisito Bertinelli & Eric Strobl, 2010. "Trends in Rainfall and Economic Growth in Africa: A Neglected Cause of the African Growth Tragedy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 350-366, May.
    4. Driscoll, John C., 2004. "Does bank lending affect output? Evidence from the U.S. states," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 451-471, April.
    5. Ravallion, Martin, 1994. "Measuring Social Welfare with and without Poverty Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 359-364, May.
    6. repec:dau:papers:123456789/6159 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Aravind Moorthy & Thomas Coen & Katie Naeve & Jeremy Brecher-Haimson & Sarah Hughes, "undated". "Evaluation of the Irrigation and Water Resource Management Project in Senegal: Design Report," Mathematica Policy Research Reports c9f29d5746b14250b145a2030, Mathematica Policy Research.
    2. Sheila M. Olmstead & Hilary Sigman, 2015. "Damming the Commons: An Empirical Analysis of International Cooperation and Conflict in Dam Location," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(4), pages 497-526.
    3. Kwadwo Owusu & Paul W. K. Yankson & Alex B. Asiedu & Peter B. Obour, 2017. "Resource utilization conflict in downstream non‐resettled communities of the Bui Dam in Ghana," Natural Resources Forum, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(4), pages 234-243, November.
    4. Sawada, Yasuyuki, 2015. "The Impacts of Infrastructure in Development: A Selective Survey," ADBI Working Papers 511, Asian Development Bank Institute.
    5. Eberle, Ulrich, 2020. "Damned by dams? Infrastructure and conflict," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 108457, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Mettetal, Elizabeth, 2019. "Irrigation dams, water and infant mortality: Evidence from South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 17-40.
    7. Mohammed, Y.S. & Mustafa, M.W. & Bashir, N., 2013. "Status of renewable energy consumption and developmental challenges in Sub-Sahara Africa," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 453-463.
    8. Thomas Coen & Sarah M. Hughes & Matthew Ribar & William Valletta & Kristen Velyvis, "undated". "Evaluation of the Irrigation and Water Resource Management Project in Senegal: Interim Evaluation Report," Mathematica Policy Research Reports d61e6ded74a24d40a2121bd80, Mathematica Policy Research.
    9. Andrea J. Lund & David Lopez-Carr & Susanne H. Sokolow & Jason R. Rohr & Giulio A. De Leo, 2021. "Agricultural Innovations to Reduce the Health Impacts of Dams," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(4), pages 1-8, February.
    10. Hyland, Marie & Russ, Jason, 2019. "Water as destiny – The long-term impacts of drought in sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 30-45.
    11. Russ,Jason Daniel & Zaveri,Esha Dilip & Damania,Richard & Desbureaux,Sebastien Gael & Escurra,Jorge Jose & Rodella,Aude-Sophie, 2020. "Salt of the Earth : Quantifying the Impact of Water Salinity on Global Agricultural Productivity," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9144, The World Bank.
    12. Zaveri, Esha D. & Russ, Jason & Damania, Richard, 2017. "Drenched Fields and Parched Farms: Evidence along the Extensive and Intensive Margins," 2017 Annual Meeting, July 30-August 1, Chicago, Illinois 258409, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    dams; agricultural productivity; Africa;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O20 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - General
    • Q19 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Other

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