An African Success Story: Botswana
AbstractBotswana has had the highest rate of per capita growth of any country in the world in the last 35 years. This occurred despite adverse initial conditions, including minimal investment during the colonial period and high inequality. Botswana achieved this rapid development by following orthodox economic policies. How Botswana sustained these policies is a puzzle because typically in Africa, ‘good economics’ has proved not to be politically feasible. In this Paper we suggest that good policies were chosen in Botswana because good institutions, which we refer to as institutions of private property, were in place. Why did institutions of private property arise in Botswana, but not other African nations? We conjecture that the following factors were important. First, Botswana possessed relatively inclusive pre-colonial institutions, placing constraints on political elites. Second, the effect of British colonialism on Botswana was minimal, and did not destroy these institutions. Third, following independence, maintaining and strengthening institutions of private property were in the economic interests of the elite. Fourth, Botswana is very rich in diamonds, which created enough rents that no group wanted to challenge the status quo at the expense of ‘rocking the boat’. Finally, we emphasize that this situation was reinforced by a number of critical decisions made by the post-independence leaders, particularly Presidents Khama and Masire.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3219.
Date of creation: Feb 2002
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
- O10 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
- O50 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Alesina, Alberto F & Rodrik, Dani, 1991.
"Distributive Politics and Economic Growth,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
565, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Rodrik, Dani & Alesina, Alberto, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," Scholarly Articles 4551798, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Roland Benabou, 2000. "Unequal Societies: Income Distribution and the Social Contract," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 96-129, March.
- Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000.
"The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation,"
NBER Working Papers
7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
- Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1997.
"Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-50, November.
- Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
- Barro, R.J., 1989.
"Economic Growth In A Cross Section Of Countries,"
RCER Working Papers
201, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
- David E. Bloom & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1998. "Geography, Demography, and Economic Growth in Africa," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 207-296.
- James A. Robinson & Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "Political Losers as a Barrier to Economic Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 126-130, May.
- Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001.
"Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution,"
NBER Working Papers
8460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal Of Fortune: Geography And Institutions In The Making Of The Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294, November.
- Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994.
"Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
- Sachs, J-D & Warner, A-M, 1995.
"Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growth,"
517a, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
- Catherine Boone, 1998. "State building in the African countryside: Structure and politics at the grassroots," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(4), pages 1-31.
Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
- List of bordering countries with greatest relative differences in GDP (PPP) per capita in Wikipedia English ne '')
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.