Reforms in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of Cotton

Empirical evidence from comparative studies on the impact of structural adjustment on Sub-Saharan African agricultural performance remains largely inconclusive. To illuminate this debate, we estimate the impact of liberalization on productivity, acreage, and production while controlling for potential sources of supply response variation, notably the pace and depth of reforms, the nature of pre-reform policies, and weather. We find that the impact of reforms varied both with the degree of liberalization and pre-reform policies: the clear positive impact on productivity was stronger in East and Southern Africa, especially where competition increased most. The impact on cultivated areas and production is less clear.

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