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Root Causes of African Underdevelopment

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  • Sambit Bhattacharyya

Abstract

What are the root causes of Africa's current state of under-development? Is it the long history of slave trade, or the legacy of extractive colonial institutions, or the fallout of malaria? We investigate the relative contributions of these factors using an instrumental variable approach. The results show that malaria matters the most and all other factors are statistically insignificant. Malaria also negatively affects savings. Using a two period overlapping generation model we show that malaria impacts economic performance by increasing both mortality and morbidity. Increased mortality increases current household consumption and discourages savings. Increased morbidity adversely affects labour productivity. The combined impact is a slowdown of capital accumulation and economic growth.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 2008-16.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pas:papers:2008-16

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Keywords: Poverty; Vulnerability; Food security; Cross-section data;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Fosu, Augustin Kwasi, 2013. "Growth of African economies: Productivity, policy syndromes, and the importance of institutions," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  2. Rodolfo E. Manuelli, 2011. "Disease and Development: The Role of Human Capital," 2011 Meeting Papers 605, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Bhattacharyya, Sambit, 2012. "Trade liberalization and institutional development," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 253-269.
  4. Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay & Elliott Green, 2011. "The Reversal of Fortune Thesis Reconsidered," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(7), pages 817-831, December.
  5. Kodila-Tedika, Oasis, 2014. "Education, paludisme et moustiquaires imprégnées d'insecticide en Afrique sub-saharienne," MPRA Paper 55913, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Nunn, Nathan, 2007. "The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades," MPRA Paper 4134, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Thomas K.J. McDermott, 2013. "Reconciling conflicting evidence on the origins of comparative development: A finite mixture model approach," Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Papers 130, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
  8. Bertocchi, Graziella & Guerzoni, Andrea, 2010. "Growth, History, or Institutions? What Explains State Fragility in Sub-Saharan Africa," CEPR Discussion Papers 7745, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Gabriel Picone & Robyn Kibler & Benedicte Apouey, 2013. "Individuals’ Preventive Behavioral Response to Changes in Malaria Risks and Government Interventions: Evidence from six African countries," Working Papers 0313, University of South Florida, Department of Economics.
  10. Margherita Bottero & Björn Wallace, 2013. "Is There a Long-Term Effect of Africa's Slave Trades?," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 30, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  11. Rodolfo Manuelli, 2011. "Disease and Development: The Role of Human Capital," Working Papers 2011-008, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  12. Fabrizio Carmignani & Abdur Chowdhury, 2012. "The Geographical Dimension of the Development Effects of Natural Resources," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 52(4), pages 479-498, August.
  13. Fabrizio Carmignani & Abdur Chowdhury, 2011. "The Development Effects Of Natural Resources: A Geographical Dimension," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp1022, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.

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