Micro-empirical analysis of development issues; The economics of armed conflict; Food safety & quality standards, global supply chains; Food prices and food security; Sub-Saharan Africa, Rwanda, Uganda, DR Congo, Benin.
Rwanda research project
Benin research project
Congo research project
Currenlty, I'm stuyding fishing communities in Benin, poverty & growth in Rwanda, and the mining sector in DRC.
Work in progress
The unintended consequence of an EU export ban: Evidence from Benin’s shrimp sector (with Romain Houssa)
This paper studies the impact of the EU export ban on Benin’s shrimp sector. On the basis of a supply-demand framework, in-depth fieldwork and an analysis of household survey data, we demonstrate that the ban had a negative welfare impact on the shrimp exporting firms, the fishmongers as well as the artisanal fishers. More importantly, the evidence indicates that this negative impact persisted, several years after the ban was lifted. Three elements play a role in explaining why exports did not revive: the poor institutional environment in Benin, the small size of the shrimp sector and its dependency on the EU. At the level of small-scale producers, the ban resulted in a welfare loss because fishermen had limited coping strategies, being stuck in the fishery sector while the local and regional demand for shrimp could not fully compensate for the loss of the export market.
Modern and traditional management of natural resources: Evidence from Benin’s inland fisheries (with Elena Briones Alonso and Romain Houssa)
This paper investigates the functioning of two locally designed rules to manage the fishery stock. The rules apply to the use of fine meshed nets and stem from two distinct institutions: (i) a modern institution embodied in fishing committees, and (ii) a traditional institution embedded in Voodoo, an animist religion that originated in Benin. We examine whether these rules are respected, relying on individual-level data on the use of fishing gear and fishing revenue. We find that the two types of rules co-exist, and have a statistically significant effect on fishing activity. However, the quantitative effect of these rules on fishing activities is small and, unless reinforced, the existing rules may not be sufficient to prevent the collapse of the ecosystem.
To fish or not to fish? Resource degradation and income diversification in Benin (with Nik Stoop and Romain Houssa)
This paper studies the relationship between income diversification and natural resource degradation for fishing communities in southern Benin. We find that the higher the degradation of the fishing stock, the more fishers diversify their income. However, given the rapid natural resource degradation, the level of income diversification that we find is surprisingly low and far from sufficient to relieve the stress on the lakes. In explaining the low level of income diversification, our analysis suggests that education plays a role.
Armed conflict, sex ratio and marital outcomes: Evidence from Rwanda (with Kati Schindler)
We use armed conflict in Rwanda as a natural experiment to study how a decrease in the sex ratio affects the marriage market. Combining detailed information on conflict intensity with individual-level data from pre-war and post-war waves of the population census and the Demographic and Health Surveys, we find strong evidence for four effects of the shortage of middle-aged men in the marriage market. First, after the 1994 genocide, younger men entered the market. Second, less men and more middle-aged women remained single. Third, more marriages remained informal , without registration or transfer of bride price. We also find a largeincrease in the number of children born out-of-wedlock, who -lacking customary and statutory land rights – are likely to add to the number of landless youth .