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Explaining Growth in Burundi: 1960-2000

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  • Janvier Nkurunziza
  • Floribert Ngaruko
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    Abstract

    This study analyses Burundi`s economic performance over the period 1960-2000 and finds that it has been catastrophic. The usual economic factors explaining growth are endogenous to political decisions, suggesting that it is politics not economics that explains the dismal performance. This picture particularly limits the relevance of textbook models that rely on the assumption of a competitive resource allocation rule. When cronies rather than qualified managers are running the economy, when priority is given to investment projects in function of their locationrather than the objective needs of the economy, the economic model loses its explanatory power. Economic performance has been shaped by the occurrence of violent conflicts caused by factions fighting for the control of the state and its rents. The capture of rents by a small group have become the overarching objective of the successive governments that have ruled the country since shortly after its independence. Therefore, the economic system will not change unless the political system is modernised from a dictatorial regime playing a zero-sum game to a more democratic and accountable regime. Therefore, it would be naïve to propose that economic reforms will boost the country`s economy if they are not preceded or at least accompanied by political reforms. One central message of this study is that Burundi`s poor economic performance is the result of specific identifiable factors evolving around governance. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with Burundi: Development failure may be reversed if the issues identified in the study are properly addressed

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number WPS/2002-03.

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    Date of creation: 01 Apr 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:wps/2002-03

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    1. repec:fth:oxesaf:99-24 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Paul Collier & Marcel Fafchamps & Francis Teal & Stefan Dercon, 1999. "Contract flexibility and dispute resolution in African manufacturing," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/1999-20, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    3. Reinikka, Ritva & Svensson, Jakob, 1999. "How inadequate provision of public infrastructure and services affects private investment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2262, The World Bank.
    4. Marcel Fafchamps, 1999. "Networks,communities and markets in Sub-Saharan Africa: implications for firm growth and investment," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/1999-24, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    5. Norman Gemmell,, . "Evaluating the Impacts of Human Capital Stocks and Accumulation on Economic Growth: Some New Evidence," Discussion Papers 95/17, University of Nottingham, CREDIT.
    6. Jan Willem Gunning & Paul Collier, 1999. "Explaining African Economic Performance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 64-111, March.
    7. Sleuwaegen, Leo & Goedhuys, Micheline, 2002. "Growth of firms in developing countries, evidence from Cote d'Ivoire," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 117-135, June.
    8. Benhabib, Jess & Rustichini, Aldo, 1996. " Social Conflict and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 125-42, March.
    9. de Janvry, Alain & Fafchamps, Marcel & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 1991. "Peasant Household Behaviour with Missing Markets: Some Paradoxes Explained," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(409), pages 1400-417, November.
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    Cited by:
    1. Robinson, James A. & Torvik, Ragnar, 2009. "A political economy theory of the soft budget constraint," European Economic Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 786-798, October.
    2. Milanovic, Branko, 2003. "Is inequality in Africa really different ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3169, The World Bank.
    3. Mwangi wa Githinji, 2012. "Erasing Class/ (re)Creating Ethnicity: Jobs, Politics, Accumulation and Identity in Kenya," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics 2012-08, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    4. Janvier D. Nkurunziza, 2010. "Why Is The Financial Sector In Burundi Not Development-Oriented?," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS) 29, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).

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