Empirical essays in development microeconomics

  • Gabriel Amobila Aboyadana

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis includes three essays on issues that impact development in Africa. There is an active debate in the literature on whether there is a causal relationship between education and health. The existing evidence is mainly from America and Europe and is mixed. The first study in this thesis contributes new evidence to this conversation using data from a natural experiment in a developing country. To credibly identify a causal effect, I explore Ghana’s 1996 universal fee waiver policy within a framework of fuzzy Regression Discontinuity Design. The findings show a plausible causal effect of schooling on health outcomes such as smoking, healthy eating habits, the risk of obesity and hypertension. In terms of methodology, the study uses a more accurate definition of school cohorts that have not been used previously. The second study reconciles findings from psychology experiments and econometric analysis on the relationship between climate variability and violence. The experiments, which have mostly been in America, have suggested that when the temperature is extremely high or low, violence was more likely. The recent econometric analysis, on the other hand, mostly using data from Africa, has suggested a link between Africa’s hot climate and recent violent conflicts; and has explained that this is due to climate-induced economic shocks. This study argues that while an economic channel is plausible, it is not universal and suggests instead that trust is. The third study examines the relationship between religion and fertility in Africa.Building on evidence from Nunn(2010), I instrument religion using Roome(1925)’s data on Christian missionary stations. This approach which has not been previously used allows for a credible identification of the effects of religion on fertility. The study examines the relationship between religion and fertility intentions and outcomes, son preference and use of contraception. The findings show that these relationships vary significantly between Christians and Muslims
Date of Award10 Oct 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsUniversity of Strathclyde
SupervisorAlexander Dickson (Supervisor) & Marco Alfano (Supervisor)

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