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Working papers

Disparate Structural Change and Growth Among African Countries: A Comparative Analysis of Mauritius and Senegal (Job Market Paper)

Abstract: This study investigates the driving forces behind divergent economic growth and structural transformation in Mauritius and Senegal, two historically similar sub-Saharan African nations with differing development trajectories. Employing growth accounting techniques, I assess the influence of factor inputs on the disparate growth patterns observed in these countries. My analysis reveals that total factor productivity (TFP) stands out as the primary catalyst behind their divergent economic growth. In Mauritius, economic activity reallocation favors sectors with accelerated TFP growth, while Senegal's shift leans towards sectors with slower TFP growth. To further elucidate these dynamics, I employ a multi-sector structural change model, calibrate it to match some features of data from both countries, and run some counterfactual experiments to understand the factors driving sectoral reallocation dynamics. My findings from these quantitative exercises demonstrate that income effects are the strongest predictors of structural transformation in these countries, which explains why labor moves to the sector with fastest growing TFP in Mauritius. The model implies that if Senegal had experienced the sectoral TFP growth rates of Mauritius, her GDP per capita would have grown 1.5 percent per year faster over the period 1980 through 2019.

Misallocation and Financial Constraints Among Firms in Africa, STEG Working Paper

Abstract: Misallocation has been generally proven to lower aggregate TFP and drive per capita GDP differences across countries. This paper investigates the extent to which financial constraints contribute to the firm-level resource misallocation that I show is present in 12 sub-Saharan African countries. I calibrate a misallocation model (Hsieh and Klenow, 2009) with intermediate inputs as an additional factor input using firm-level data from the enterprise survey of the World Bank to derive measures of capital, labor, and output misallocation. I then conduct an empirical exercise to establish a link between these measures of misallocation and financial constraints. I find that the latter significantly increases output distortions, and that size is the main channel. Smaller firms are more financially constrained and in consequence face more distortions that prevent them from growing to optimal size.

COVID-19 and Gender Inequality: Impact in Southern Africa (with Giorgia Albertin, Romina Kazandjia, Tianyuan Wang), Forthcoming IMF Working Paper

Abstract: This paper analyzes the impact of COVID-19 on gender disparities in the Southern African region, notably in South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho, and Namibia. It explores the extent of gender inequality in these countries and the channels through which COVID-19 has affected it. The paper uses pre- and post-COVID-19 macro-level data and survey-based data to establish preexisting stylized facts on gender inequality in the region, empirically quantify the ways in which the pandemic has disproportionately affected women, and analyze the channels of transmission. Our analysis provides significant evidence for a “she-cession” in the region: the pandemic economically affected women disproportionately, relative to men. Using linear probability panel regression models, we find that women’s employment, hours worked, and incomes were more negatively affected than those of men in South Africa, and they also took longer to recover after the initial shock. Similarly, in Namibia, women were more likely to have lost employment due to the pandemic Using alternative probit models, due to data limitations, we complement these findings with results that in Eswatini and Namibia, women were less likely to be employed during the pandemic and more likely to have lost their jobs due to the pandemic than men. In Lesotho, women were less likely to be formally employed than men during the pandemic. The results from additional panel regressions, including interaction terms, offer evidence supporting women’s heavier unpaid work burden and occupational gender segregation as channels of transmission. We also find evidence that business employment acted as a counter-cyclical shock-absorber for women in South Africa and Lesotho.

Work in progress

Trade and Welfare in Uganda: How Have Imports from China Affected Households and Firms

Other works

Can Financial Conditions Influence Economic Activity in the CFA Zone: A Case Study of Senegal


Abstract: This paper investigates the extent to which changes in financial conditions affect macroeconomic outcomes in Senegal. Although financial conditions have been found to be a significant determinant of economic growth in developed countries, the relationship is less obvious in developing countries. In particular, the fact that Senegal’s currency, the CFA, is pegged to the Euro raises a lot of questions about its financial independence. I first extract a common component of 15 bank interest rates to use as a financial conditions index. I then estimate a Vector Autoregressive (VAR) model for money growth and the financial conditions indicator to separately identify money supply and demand shocks. Lastly, I estimate the effects of these shocks on business activity and inflation to quantify by how much unexpected changes in money supply and demand shocks influence the country’s economic growth and inflation. I find that a supply shock pushes inflation up by 0.2% after a month and stimulates business activity by 1.5% after two months, while demand shocks decrease inflation by less than 0.25% and business activity by about 1% after two months. These effects are less pronounced within the first month and start to dissipate one year after the shocks.

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