The African Urbanization and Development Research Initiative (AUDRI) is a research program to study, through the construction of a wide-ranging multi-year panel dataset, the changing economic, social, and political conditions in two of Africa’s largest cities—the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, and the economic capital of Côte d’Ivoire, Abidjan.
Through rigorous analyses of the complex web of interactions among individuals, firms, service providers, and local officials that together determine a community’s quality of life, AUDRI aims to produce insights that can inform policies and practices in those two cities and beyond. Data collected are made publicly available, to enable additional evidence-based studies of interest to academics and policymakers.
AUDRI is committed to promoting collaboration with in-country research groups and decision-makers. The initiative also provides graduate and undergraduate students with extensive training in data collection and data analysis methods, as well as the opportunity to use the data generated to conduct their own research.
Relative poverty rankings from community members have surged as an alternative to identify the poorest members of a community in the absence of administrative income data. Relying on key informants has been shown to produce reasonable rankings in small rural hamlets. It is, however, unclear whether it applies to urban and peri-urban areas with a more mobile population and less dense social networks. Measuring Relative Poverty through Peer Rankings: Evidence from Côte d'Ivoire highlights the limitations of using peer rankings in high-density neighborhoods. The evidence suggests that urban and peri-urban areas may experience too much income variation and spatial mobility to allow neighbors to accurately guess each other’s relative economic standing.
In 2020, AUDRI conducted rapid phone surveys to assess the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on households. AUDRI has produced a short report for the Ethiopian government regarding school re-entry. It also has documented the changes in employment and income in Greater Abidjan
A Study of Antagonistic Labor Relations among Foreign, Domestic, and Chinese-Owned Manufacturing Firms in Ethiopia documents antagonistic labor relations in foreign-owned firms in Ethiopia. The findings suggest that misaligned perceptions about the role of local labor institutions may be a driver of conflict in foreign-owned firms.
Marcel Fafchamps is the Satre Family Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) and a member of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law. Fafchamps is a professor (by courtesy) for the Department of Economics at Stanford University. His research interest includes economic development, market institutions, social networks, and behavioral economics – with a special focus on Africa and South Asia.
Fafchamps has degrees in Law and in Economics from the Université Catholique de Louvain. He holds a PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California Berkeley.