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Martina Kirchberger, Trinity College Dublin Print
Tuesday, 29 January 2019, 14:00 - 15:15

Martina Kirchberger, Trinity College Dublin

The Spatial Distribution of Amenities in Africa

Abstract: In most developing countries, there is a large gap in average consumption per capita between urban and rural areas. One possible explanation of this gap is that higher consumption levels of urban areas are offset by lower non-monetary amenities. This paper draws on new high-resolution evidence to document how non-monetary amenities vary across space within 20 Sub-Saharan African countries. We focus on measures of public goods, crime and pollution. We find that in almost all countries, and for almost all measures, the quality of these amenities is non-decreasing in population density. Measures of life satisfaction and self-reported happiness are also higher in urban areas. In addition, net internal migration flows are directed toward denser areas in all countries. These findings cast doubt on the hypothesis that rural-urban consumption gaps in the developing world are explained by better amenities in rural areas. 

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