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Lefevre M.,Catholic University of Leuven | Lefevre M.,HEC School of Management | Lefevre M.,Center for Institutions and Economic Performance
Agricultural and Resource Economics Review | Year: 2014

Senegalese consumers prefer milk-based dairy products that are local and fresh to ones produced with imported powder. However, prices for fresh-milk-based and powder-based products are not significantly different. I address this puzzle by first confirming the preference using choice-based conjoint data to evaluate whether Senegalese consumers will pay a significant positive premium for fresh local products. I then identify price determinants using a unique dataset of milk product characteristics. The results verify the Senegalese preference for fresh local dairy products and show that consumers' misinformation regarding product composition prevents them from allocating a higher price to local milk-based products.


Olper A.,University of Milan | Olper A.,Center for Institutions and Economic Performance | Curzi D.,University of Milan | Pacca L.,University of Milan
Economics Letters | Year: 2014

This paper investigates the relationship between the diffusion of EU standards and product quality upgrading using highly disaggregated import data to the EU in the food industry. Results show that, on average, the diffusion of EU voluntary standards boosts the rate of quality upgrading. However, the results are heterogeneous when moving from primary to processed foods, and from ISO to non-ISO standards. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


PubMed | Center for Institutions and Economic Performance, Stanford University and University of Milan
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The Lancet. Global health | Year: 2016

The effects of political regimes on health are unclear because empirical evidence is neither strong nor robust. Traditional econometric tools do not allow the direction of causality to be established clearly. We used a new method to investigate whether political transition into democracy affected child mortality.We used a synthetic control method to assess the effects of democratisation on child mortality as a proxy of health in countries that underwent transition from autocracy to democracy that lasted for at least 10 years between 1960 and 2010. Democracy was indicated by a score greater than 0 in the Polity2 index. We constructed synthetic controls (counterfactuals) based on weighted averages for factors such as child mortality, economic development, openess to trade, conflict, rural population, and female education from a pool of countries that remained autocracies during the study period.Of 60 countries that underwent democratic transition in the study period, 33 met our inclusion criteria. We were able to construct good counterfactuals for 24 of these. On average, democratisation reduced child mortality, and the effect increased over time. Significant reductions in child mortality were seen in nine (38%) countries, with the average reduction 10 years after democratisation being 13%. In the other 15 countries the effects were not significant. At the country level yhe effects were heterogeneous, but the differences did not correlate with geographic, economic, or political indicators. The effect of democratisation, however, was stronger in countries with above average child mortality before transition than in countries with below average child mortality.Our results are consistent with the interpretation that democratic reforms have the greatest effects when child mortality is a direct concern for a large part of the population. Future research could focus on identifying the precise mechanism through which the effects emerge.European Union 7th Framework Programme and KU Leuven Methusalem Fund.


Van Herck K.,Center for Institutions and Economic Performance | Swinnen J.F.M.,Center for Institutions and Economic Performance | Deconinck K.,Center for Institutions and Economic Performance
German Journal of Agricultural Economics | Year: 2012

Like all markets in the former communist countries, the Eastern European beer market has been strongly affected by the economic reforms in the beginning of the 1990s. In the first years after reforms, there was a substantial decline in the production of barley, malt and beer. However, the brewery sector soon attracted interest from foreign investors, who faced problems in sourcing sufficient high quality malt in order to produce high quality beer. Therefore, they reintroduced vertical coordination in the supply chain to obtain malt and barley that consistently met their quality requirements. The associated change in beer quality has been one of the drivers behind the spectacular growth of beer consumption in several Eastern European countries. Most remarkable was the growth in the Russian beer market, where beer consumption more than quadrupled over the course of a decade. In this paper, we describe and analyze the dramatic restructuring of the beer industry and the changes in the industrial organization of its supply chain over the past two decades. In addition, we document how the drastic improvement in the quality of beer has been an important driver behind rapid growth in beer consumption in Russia.


Swinnen J.,Center for Institutions and Economic Performance
Development Policy Review | Year: 2011

Only a few years ago the widely shared view was that low food prices were a curse to developing countries and the poor. Their dramatic increase in 2006-8 appears to have altered this view fundamentally. High food prices are now judged to have a devastating effect on developing countries and the world's poor - a reversal of opinion that raises questions about the old and the new arguments and the proposed remedies, and also about the causes of this dramatic turnaround in analysis and policy conclusions. This article puts these changes in perspective and discusses their potential implications. © The Author 2011. Development Policy Review © 2011 Overseas Development Institute..

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