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Why Has Africa Grown Slowly?

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  • Paul Collier
  • Jan Willem Gunning

Abstract

We distinguish between policy and "destiny" explanations of Africa's slow growth during the past three decades. Policies were poor: high export taxation and inefficient public service delivery, and "destiny" was adverse: landlocked, tropical locations, and terms of trade deterioration. During the 1990s, Africa's economic policies improved, although with considerable variation both between countries and between policies: trade and exchange rate policies improved much more than service delivery. Thus, the differing explanations of past slow growth imply different predictions for growth in the coming decade. We argue that poor public economic services are likely to be the binding constraint.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.13.3.3
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 13 (1999)
Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
Pages: 3-22

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:13:y:1999:i:3:p:3-22

Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.13.3.3
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  1. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  2. Kyu Sik Lee & Anas, Alex, 1989. "Manufacturers'responses to infrastructure deficiencies in Nigeria : private alternatives and policy options," Policy Research Working Paper Series 325, The World Bank.
  3. Deaton, Angus & Miller, Ron, 1996. "International Commodity Prices, Macroeconomic Performance and Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 5(3), pages 99-191, October.
  4. Jan Willem Gunning & Paul Collier, 1999. "Explaining African Economic Performance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 64-111, March.
  5. Sachs, Jeffrey D & Warner, Andrew M, 1997. "Sources of Slow Growth in African Economies," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 6(3), pages 335-76, October.
  6. David Dollar & Craig Burnside, 2000. "Aid, Policies, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 847-868, September.
  7. Dercon, Stefan, 1998. "Wealth, risk and activity choice: cattle in Western Tanzania," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 1-42, February.
  8. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
  9. Dercon, Stefan, 1993. "Peasant Supply Response and Macroeconomic Policies: Cotton in Tanzania," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 2(2), pages 157-94, October.
  10. McCallum, John, 1995. "National Borders Matter: Canada-U.S. Regional Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 615-23, June.
  11. Marcel Fafchamps Jan Willem Gunning & Remco Oostendorp, . "Inventories, Liquidity, and Contractual Risk in African Manufacturing," Working Papers 97020, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  12. R. L. Voortman & B. G. J. S. Sonneveld & M. A. Keyzer, 2000. "African Land Ecology: Opportunities and Constraints for Agricultural Development," CID Working Papers 37, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  13. Susan M. Collins & Barry P. Bosworth, 1996. "Economic Growth in East Asia: Accumulation versus Assimilation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(2), pages 135-204.
  14. Schuknecht, Ludger, 1999. "Tying Governments' Hands in Commodity Taxation," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 8(2), pages 152-81, July.
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