NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Rural Demography, Public Services and Land Rights in Africa: A Village-Level Analysis in Burkina Faso

Margaret S. McMillan, William A. Masters, Harounan Kazianga

NBER Working Paper No. 17718
Issued in December 2011
NBER Program(s):   HE   PE

This paper uses historical census data from Burkina Faso to characterize local demographic pressures associated with internal migration into river valleys after Onchocerciasis eradication, combined with a new survey of village elders to document change over time and differences across villages in local public goods provision, market institutions and land use rights. We hypothesize that higher local population densities are associated with more public goods and a transition from open-access to regulated land use. Controlling for province or village fixed effects, we find that villages' variance in population associated with proximity to rivers is closely correlated with higher levels of infrastructure, markets and individual land rights, as opposed to familial or communal rights. Responding to population growth with both improved public services and private property rights is consistent with both scale effects in public good provision, and changes in the scarcity of land.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17718

"Disease Control, Demographic Change and Institutional Development in Africa," forthcoming Journal of Development Economics (with Harounan Kazianga and William Masters)

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