The Political Economy of Fertilizer Subsidy Programs in Africa: Evidence from Zambia

27 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2020

See all articles by Nicole Mason

Nicole Mason

Michigan State University - Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics

Thomas S. Jayne

Michigan State University

Nicolas van de Walle

Cornell University; Center for Global Development

Date Written: April 2017

Abstract

Fertilizer subsidy programs have re‐emerged as popular policy tools in sub‐Saharan Africa. Despite a burgeoning body of literature on program impacts, the political economy of the programs remains poorly understood. In particular, there is a dearth of empirical evidence to support or refute the conventional wisdoms that governments systematically target subsidized inputs to certain areas based on past voting patterns and that fertilizer subsidies win votes. This article discusses the theoretical links between government targeting of subsidized fertilizer and voter behavior, then uses panel data from Zambia to empirically test these conventional wisdoms. Results suggest that Zambia's Movement for Multi‐Party Democracy governments targeted more subsidized fertilizer to households in areas where it had strong support in the previous presidential election. However, contrary to conventional wisdom, marginal changes in the scale or coverage of the fertilizer subsidy program had no statistically significant effect on the share or number of votes won by incumbent presidents.

Keywords: Fertilizer subsidy programs, fractional response, political economy, sub‐Saharan Africa, Zambia

Suggested Citation

Mason, Nicole and Jayne, Thomas S. and van de Walle, Nicolas, The Political Economy of Fertilizer Subsidy Programs in Africa: Evidence from Zambia (April 2017). American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 99, Issue 3, pp. 705-731, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3577036 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajae/aaw090

Nicole Mason (Contact Author)

Michigan State University - Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics ( email )

MI
United States

Thomas S. Jayne

Michigan State University

Agriculture Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824-1122
United States

Nicolas Van de Walle

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Center for Global Development

2055 L St. NW
5th floor
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
7
Abstract Views
131
PlumX Metrics