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Governance and Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa

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  • Benno J. Ndulu
  • Stephen A. O'Connell
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    Abstract

    Real income per head in much of sub-Saharan Africa grew rapidly in the 1960s, but faltered following the first OPEC oil price shock in 1973-74, and then stagnated or fell from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. Africa also saw a broad wave of authoritarian rule sweep the continent in the 1960s and early 1970s. Since 1990, however, the African political landscape has experienced significant changes, many in the direction of greater pluralism and democracy. Moreover, where civil strife has been avoided, Africa has seen a broad tendency towards rapid growth for several years after 1995. This sequence of events suggests that political economy may offer useful perspectives on Africa's growth record over the last several decades. We begin with a summary of Africa's growth patterns and the evolution of African political regimes. We then examine models of authoritarian rule for insights into the conditions under which elites may sacrifice the general interest to extract rents and retain power, or in which leaders may find ways of making growth-enhancing policy politically acceptable. It would be premature to conclude that Africa's political reforms of the 1990s have helped to generate economic progress. However, we do believe that the increase in political pluralism, in combination with greater unity among African aid donors, bodes well for a continuation of Africa's growth recovery.

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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.13.3.41
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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: 41-66

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:13:y:1999:i:3:p:41-66

    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.13.3.41
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    1. Margaret McMillan, 1998. "A Dynamic Theory of Primary Export Taxation: Evidence From Sub-Saharan Africa," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 9812, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    2. Martin C. McGuire & Mancur Olson Jr., 1996. "The Economics of Autocracy and Majority Rule: The Invisible Hand and the Use of Force," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 72-96, March.
    3. C. S. Adam & S. A. O'Connell, 1999. "Aid, Taxation and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(3), pages 225-253, November.
    4. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Where Did All The Growth Go? External Shocks, Social Conflict, and Growth Collapses," NBER Working Papers 6350, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Boone, Peter, 1996. "Politics and the effectiveness of foreign aid," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 289-329, February.
    6. Wheeler, David, 1984. "Sources of stagnation in sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 1-23, January.
    7. Aryeetey, Ernest, 1994. "Private investment under uncertainty in Ghana," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(8), pages 1211-1221, August.
    8. Barro, Robert J, 1996. " Democracy and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-27, March.
    9. Ademola Oyejide, T., 1997. "Regional Integration and Trade Liberalization in Sub-Saharan Africa," Papers 28s, African Economic Research Consortium.
    10. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Trade Policy and Economic Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa," NBER Working Papers 6562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Janine Aron, 1997. "Political, economic and social institutions: a review of growth evidence," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/1998-04, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    12. Pritchett, Lant, 1998. "Patterns of economic growth : hills, plateaus, mountains, and plains," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1947, The World Bank.
    13. James A. Robinson, 1999. "When is a State Predatory?," CESifo Working Paper Series 178, CESifo Group Munich.
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    Cited by:
    1. Yuan K. Chou & Hayat Khan, 2004. "Explaining Africa's Growth Tragedy: A Theoretical Model of Dictatorship and Kleptocracy," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 922, The University of Melbourne.
    2. Amavilah, Voxi Heinrich, 2008. "Domestic resources, governance, global links, and the economic performance of Sub-Saharan Africa," MPRA Paper 11193, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Benjamin N. Dennis & Talan Iscan, 2007. "Agricultural Distortions, Structural Change, and Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Analysis," Department of Economics at Dalhousie University working papers archive distort35, Dalhousie, Department of Economics.
    4. Guido De Blasio & A. Dalmazzo, 2001. "Resources and Incentives to Reform," IMF Working Papers 01/86, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Stepan Jurajda & Janet Mitchell, 2001. "Markets and Growth," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 382, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    6. Government of the United Republic of Tanzania & World Bank, 2002. "Tanzania at the Turn of the Century : Background Papers and Statistics," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14054.
    7. M. Niaz Asadullah & Antonio Savoia & Wahiduddin Mahmud, 2013. "Paths to development: is there a Bangladesh surprise?," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 18913, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
    8. V. Heinrich Amavilah, 2003. "Meditating on "Slow Growth in Africa" - New Evidence or Just Ol' Stuff?," Development and Comp Systems 0307003, EconWPA.
    9. Amavilah, Voxi Heinrich, 2009. "Globalization, governance, and the economic performance of Sub-Saharan Africa," MPRA Paper 15600, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Almuth Scholl, 2009. "Aid Effectiveness and Limited Enforceable Conditionality," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(2), pages 377-391, April.
    11. Masaki, Takaaki & van de Walle, Nicolas, 2014. "The impact of democracy on economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa, 1982-2012," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    12. Amavilah, Voxi Heinrich, 2006. "Intensity of technology use and per capita real GDP across some African countries," MPRA Paper 1675, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Szirmai, Adam & Yamfwa, Francis & Lwamba, Chibwe, 2002. "Zambian manufacturing performance in comparative perspective," GGDC Research Memorandum 200253, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
    14. Kohnert, Dirk, 2007. "Togo: Failed election and misguided aid at the roots of economic misery," MPRA Paper 5207, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Leandro Prados de la Escosura, 2004. "Colonial Independence And Economic Backwardness In Latin America," Working Papers in Economic History wh046503, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Historia Económica e Instituciones.

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