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Unintended Impacts: How roads change health and nutrition for ethnic minorities in Congo

Jacqueline Doremus ()
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Jacqueline Doremus: Department of Economics, California Polytechnic State University

No 1702, Working Papers from California Polytechnic State University, Department of Economics

Abstract: We investigate how a road connection in a remote area of Congo changes hunger and illness for ethnic minorities. Ethnic minorities’ production activities are highly local, making it hard to construct a valid counter-factual. We exploit a natural experiment: a river boundary between two forests, one of which builds roads to satisfy eco-certification. We find the road increases trade and leads to the export of farmed food products. People and households increase production and specialize. Ethnic minorities, net buyers of exported food during this season, face higher prices and lower real wages. We find the road increases their frequency of hunger and illness. In Central Africa, hunting restrictions accompany roads to prevent over exploitation of fauna. We find the restrictions reduce hunting effort for all households. Households shift consumption to fish but, on net, consume protein less frequently, with non-fisher households seeing the largest decreases.

Keywords: ethnic inequality; rural roads; nutrition; poverty; Africa; Congo (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O12 J15 J24 O18 Q12 F14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-dcm, nep-dev and nep-hea
Date: 2017
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