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Revolutionising transport: modern infrastructure, agriculture and development in Ghana

Alexander Moradi () and Remi Jedwab ()

No 12010, Working Papers from Economic History Society

Abstract: "We study the impact of colonial investments in modern transportation in- frastructure on agriculture and development in Ghana. Two railway lines were built between 1901 and 1923 to connect the coast to mining areas and the large hinterland city of Kumasi. This unintendedly opened vast expanses of tropical forest to cocoa cultivation, allowing Ghana to become the world’s largest producer. Using data at a very fine spatial level, we find a strong effect of railroad connectivity on cocoa production in 1927, generating rents in the order of 4.5% of GDP. We show that the economic boom in cocoa-producing areas was associated with demographic growth and urbanization. We find no effect for lines that were not built yet, and lines that were planned but never built. Lastly, railway construction had a persistent impact: railway districts are more developed today despite a complete displacement of rail by other means of transport."

Keywords: "Transportation Infrastructure; Trade Costs; Agriculture; Africa" (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O18 R4 F1 N17 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012-03
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