Patterns of urbanisation in Africa have been found to be different compared to the developed world: Urbanization in Africa is much more concentrated in a few large cities. This may be driven by political economy channels, which should weaken following institutional change.
Using a wave of democratic transition during the 1990s, this paper studies whether urbanization has become more evenly spread across cities in Africa. It finds that following democratic transition, there is significant catch-up growth in non-capital cities as measured by night lights data. Using detailed micro-data and very demanding empirical specifications exploiting only within-mother and within-household variation in exposure to democracy, the study also documents a significant improvement in delivery of education and health outcomes in secondary cities relative to the capital city
This work is part of the Research on Growth and Urbanisation in Low Income Countries programme
Thiemo Fetzer, Vernon Henderson, Dzhamilya Nigmatulina, Amar Shanghavi (2016) Patterns of urbanization in Africa have been found to be different compared to the developed world:
What happens to cities when countries become democratic
Published 27 October 2016