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Heliyon. 2018 Jan 12;4(1):e00505. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2018.e00505. eCollection 2018 Jan.

Social capital and transaction costs in millet markets.

Author information

1
Earth and Life Institute, Université Catholique de Louvain, 1348, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.
2
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
3
CSIRO Agriculture & Food, Australia.

Abstract

In sub-Saharan Africa, transaction costs are believed to be the most significant barrier that prevents smallholders and farmers from gaining access to markets and productive assets. In this study, we explore the impact of social capital on millet prices for three contrasted years in Senegal. Social capital is approximated using a unique data set on mobile phone communications between 9 million people allowing to simulate the business network between economic agents. Our approach is a spatial equilibrium model that integrates a diversified set of data. Local supply and demand were respectively derived from remotely sensed imagery and population density maps. The road network was used to establish market catchment areas, and transportation costs were derived from distances between markets. Results demonstrate that accounting for the social capital in the transaction costs explained 1-9% of the price variance depending on the year. The year-specific effect remains challenging to assess but could be related to a strengthening of risk aversion following a poor harvest.

KEYWORDS:

Economics

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