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Disability, Empathy and Trade: Evidence from Small-Scale Cross-Border Transactions in Uganda

Walkenhorst, Peter (2021): Disability, Empathy and Trade: Evidence from Small-Scale Cross-Border Transactions in Uganda.

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Abstract

Small-scale cross-border trade is ubiquitous in Africa. This paper uses disaggregated trade data to assess the determinants of the product portfolio of different groups of small-scale traders at the border between Uganda and Kenya. Using a weighted fractional response model, it finds that wheelchair-bound traders have a significantly higher propensity to handle products that are subject to high protection than other traders. This result suggests that border officials discriminate in favor of traders with disability in the enforcement of trade policies or the solicitation of bribes. More generally, the findings question the effective implementation of preferential trade agreements in Africa and call for trade policy reforms to be complemented by targeted measures to reduce the hardship faced by vulnerable groups within the population.

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