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Price Distortions and Economic Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa

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  • Anderson, Kym
  • Brückner, Markus

Abstract

To what extent has Sub-Saharan Africa’s slow economic growth over the past five decades been due to price and trade policies that have discouraged production of agricultural relative to non-agricultural tradables? This paper uses a new set of estimates of policy distortions to relative prices to address this question econometrically. We first test if these policy distortions respond to economic growth, using rainfall and international commodity price shocks as instrumental variables. We find that on impact there is no significant response of relative price distortions to changes in real GDP per capita. We then test the reverse proposition and find a statistically significant and sizable negative effect of relative price distortions on the growth rate of Sub-Saharan African countries. Our fixed effects estimates suggest that, during 1960-2005, a one standard deviation increase in distortions to relative prices reduced the region’s real GDP per capita growth rate by about half a percentage point per annum.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8530.

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Date of creation: Aug 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8530

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Keywords: Agricultural incentives; Economic growth; Trade restrictions;

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References

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  1. Anderson, Kym & Kurzweil, Marianne & Martin, Will & Sandri, Damiano & Valenzuela, Ernesto, 2008. "Measuring Distortions to Agricultural Incentives, Revisited," CEPR Discussion Papers 6924, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Edwards, Sebastian, 1992. "Trade orientation, distortions and growth in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 31-57, July.
  3. Valenzuela, Ernesto & Wong, Sara & Sandri, Damiano, 2007. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Ecuador," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 48394, World Bank.
  4. Alcala, Francisco & Ciccone, Antonio, 2001. "Trade and Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3095, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Richard Blundell & Steve Bond, 1995. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," IFS Working Papers W95/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  6. Kym Anderson, 2009. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives : A Global Perspective, 1955-2007," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 9436, July.
  7. Pesaran, M.H. & Smith, R., 1992. "Estimating Long-Run Relationships From Dynamic Heterogeneous Panels," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9215, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  8. Michael A. Clemens & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2002. "Why Did the Tariff-Growth Correlation Reverse After 1950?," NBER Working Papers 9181, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Paul Collier & Benedikt Goderis, 2007. "Commodity Prices, Growth, and the Natural Resource Curse: Reconciling a Conundrum," CSAE Working Paper Series 2007-15, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  10. Anderson, Kym & Martin, William J., 2007. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Asia," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 48557, World Bank.
  11. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  12. Barrios Cobos, Salvador & Bertinelli, Luisito & Strobl, Eric, 2008. "Trends in Rainfall and Economic Growth in Africa: A Neglected Cause of the Growth Tragedy," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Zurich 2008 41, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  13. Moritz Schularick & Solomos Solomou, 2011. "Tariffs and economic growth in the first era of globalization," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 33-70, March.
  14. Ndulu,Benno J. & O'Connell,Stephen A. & Bates,Robert H. & Collier,Paul & Soludo,Chukwuma C., 2009. "The Political Economy of Economic Growth in Africa, 1960–2000," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521127752.
  15. Anderson, Kym & Masters, William A., 2007. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Africa," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 48554, World Bank.
  16. O'Rourke, Kevin H, 2000. "Tariffs and Growth in the Late 19th Century," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(463), pages 456-83, April.
  17. Sandri, Damiano & Valenzuela, Ernesto & Anderson, Kym, 2007. "Economic And Trade Indicators For Asia, 1960 To 2004," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 48435, World Bank.
  18. Emily Oster, 2007. "Routes of Infection: Exports and HIV Incidence in Sub-Saharan Africa," NBER Working Papers 13610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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