Ph.d.-forsvar: Hailemariam Ayalew Tiruneh:"Impact Evaluation of Policy Reforms: Quasi-experimental Evidence from Africa

This dissertation consists of four self-contained chapters.

The first chapter uses the Ethiopian land title certification program as a quasi-experiment and examines the effect of land title certification on household welfare among rural poor households in Ethiopia. By exploiting variation in the differential timing of land title certification, we find that land tenure security significantly improves the welfare of the poor and the effect varies depending on the length of household’s treatment duration. Hired labor is the main channel through which land title certification affects household welfare.

The second chapter examines the impact of Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) on spatial price dispersion. We compare the price dispersion of cereals that are traded at ECX, maize and wheat, with a cereal only traded at the local market, teff. We find that ECX significantly reduces spatial price dispersion and the effect varies depending on the length of treatment duration and crop type. Price dissemination through plasma screens is the main channel through which ECX affects spatial price dispersion in Ethiopia.

The third chapter further investigates the impact of ECX on farm household welfare. We exploit variation in the geographical locations of the price display plasma screens that disseminate real time price information at the exchange. Distance from the plasma screens to each enumeration area is used to measure the intensity of access to the price information. We find that reducing distance improves farm household welfare. Increasing land allocated to commodities traded at the exchange is an important channel through which ECX affect household welfare.

Finally, chapter four investigates the effect of weather shocks on spatial price dispersion in Mozambique. While a drought reduces price differences between markets, price dispersion increases during flood periods. This effect is higher among markets that are closer to each other but connected by poorer transport infrastructure.