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A standardized precipitation index is used in a regression analysis to quantify the impact of climate change on agricultural productivity in Sahel. I first estimate a Malmquist productivity index and its efficiency and technical change components. I further assess the statistical significance of the indices by estimating some confidence intervals via a bootstrap method. In the second stage of the analysis, I use a Probit model to estimate the extent to which climate variables affect agricultural productivity. It appears that agricultural performance has been disastrous in many Sahelian countries from 1970 to 2000. Using a comparable cross-country measure of drought, I provide evidence that precipitation variability is constraining not only Sahel’s agricultural performance but also its economic growth. War also plays an equally detrimental role as drought in explaining the causes of Sahel’s economic downturn.


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