Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 495253
Title Climate Shocks, Cash crops and Resilience: Evidence from colonial tropical Africa
Author(s) Papaioannou, K.I.; Haas, M.A. de
Source Centre for Global Economic History (CGEH Working Paper Series 76) - 53 p.
Department(s) Rural and Environmental History
WASS
Publication type Working paper aimed at scientific audience
Publication year 2015
Keyword(s) Environmental and economic history, Africa, colonialism, tropical agriculture,
Abstract A rapidly growing body of research examines how weather variability, anomalies
and shocks influence economic and societal outcomes. This study investigates the effects of
weather shocks on African smallholder farmers in British colonial Africa and intervenes in
the debate on the mediating effect of cash crops on resilience to shocks. We employ a dual
research strategy, involving both qualitative and econometric analysis. We analyse original
primary evidence retrieved from annual administrative records and construct a panel dataset
of 151 districts across West, South-central and East Africa in the Interwar Era (1920-1939).
Our findings are twofold. First, we qualitatively expose a range of mechanisms leading from
drought and excessive rainfall to harvest failure and social upheaval. We then test the link
econometrically and find a robust U-shaped relation between rainfall deviation and social
upheaval, proxied by annual imprisonment. Second, we review a long-standing and unsettled
debate on the impact of cash crop cultivation on farmers’ resilience to environmental shocks
and find that cash crop districts experienced lower levels of social tension and distress in
years of extreme rainfall variability.
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