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IFS/STICERD/UCL Development Work in Progress Seminar

National Road Upgrading and Structural Transformation: Evidence from Ugandan Households

Yue Yu (University of Toronto), joint with Ian Herzog and Siyuan Liu

Thursday 02 May 2024 13:00 - 14:00

Many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as in person or as hybrid (online and in person) events. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.

Unless otherwise specified, in-person seminars are open to the public.

Those unable to join the seminars in-person are welcome to participate via zoom if the event is hybrid.


About this event

Structural transformation, typically characterized by labor transitioning from agriculture to a diverse industrial economy, has been slow in Sub-Saharan Africa. Even though the region is urbanizing, a significant portion of the urban population continues to depend on agriculture. We argue that this is due to smaller cities being isolated from national markets and trade. We test this claim using granular individual panel data and Uganda's doubling of paved roads, which improved remote areas' market access. We find that enhanced market access causes workers to quit family farms for specialized paid employment. The effects are concentrated in peripheral areas, households with a comparative advantage in off-farm work, reflecting off-farm opportunities rather than a reduced demand for farm output. In addition, market access leads remote households to simplify farming techniques and scale back farming. Findings are consistent with reliable transport allowing trade with major markets, creating opportunities to specialize according to individual comparative advantage.

This seminar series is jointly organized by the IFS, STICERD, and UCL.

IFS/STICERD/UCL Development Economics Work In Progress seminars are held on Thursdays in term time at 13:00-14:00, at the IFS, unless specified otherwise.

Seminar organisers: Oriana Bandiera (STICERD, LSE), Imran Rasul (UCL), Britta Augsburg (IFS) and Jonathan Weigel (LSE).

For further information please contact Britta Augsburg: britta_a@ifs.org.uk.

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