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Why Has Africa Grown Slowly?

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  • Paul Collier
  • Jan Willem Gunning

Abstract

We distinguish between policy and "destiny" explanations of Africa's slow growth during the past three decades. Policies were poor: high export taxation and inefficient public service delivery, and "destiny" was adverse: landlocked, tropical locations, and terms of trade deterioration. During the 1990s, Africa's economic policies improved, although with considerable variation both between countries and between policies: trade and exchange rate policies improved much more than service delivery. Thus, the differing explanations of past slow growth imply different predictions for growth in the coming decade. We argue that poor public economic services are likely to be the binding constraint.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Collier & Jan Willem Gunning, 1999. "Why Has Africa Grown Slowly?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 3-22, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:13:y:1999:i:3:p:3-22
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.13.3.3
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.13.3.3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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