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Human Capital and Economic Growth: Is Africa Different?


  • Kwabena Gyimah-Brempong

    () (The University of South Florida)

  • Mark Wilson

    (Departement des Sciences Economiques and CIRPEE, Universite du Queebec aa Montreal)


This paper investigates the difference in growth effects of human capital in African countries and the rest of the world. Using an expanded neoclassical growth model, panel data, a dynamic panel estimator and a broader definition of human capital including both health and education, we find that the effect of human capital on the growth rate of per capita GDP in Africa does not differ significantly from the growth impact of human capital in the rest of the world. Our results suggest that Africa does not grow any differently than the rest of the world. The observed growth differential between Africa and the rest of the world can be attributed to the fact that Africa has low endowments of growth-enhancing characteristics. Our results suggest that Africa should be treated like any other part of the world and that researchers and policy makers alike should forget about the "African difference," and formulate more efficient growth policies for Africa.

Suggested Citation

  • Kwabena Gyimah-Brempong & Mark Wilson, 2005. "Human Capital and Economic Growth: Is Africa Different?," Journal of African Development, African Finance and Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 73-109.
  • Handle: RePEc:afe:journl:v:7:y:2005:i:1:p:73-109

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Pia N. Malaney, 1999. "Demographic Change and Economic Growth in Asia," CID Working Papers 15, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    2. Easterly, William & Kremer, Michael & Pritchett, Lant & Summers, Lawrence H., 1993. "Good policy or good luck?: Country growth performance and temporary shocks," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 459-483, December.
    3. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-De-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "Government Ownership of Banks," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(1), pages 265-301, February.
    4. Ross Levine & Norman Loayza & Thorsten Beck, 2002. "Financial Intermediation and Growth: Causality and Causes," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Leonardo Hernández & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Se (ed.), Banking, Financial Integration, and International Crises, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 2, pages 031-084 Central Bank of Chile.
    5. Aghion, Philippe & Bacchetta, Philippe & Banerjee, Abhijit, 2004. "Financial development and the instability of open economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(6), pages 1077-1106, September.
    6. David E. BLOOM & Jocelyn E. FINLAY, 2009. "Demographic Change and Economic Growth in Asia," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 4(1), pages 45-64.
    7. Easterly, William, 2001. "The Lost Decades: Developing Countries' Stagnation in Spite of Policy Reform 1980-1998," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 135-157, June.
    8. Ghiath Shabsigh & Ilker Domaç, 1999. "Real Exchange Rate Behavior and Economic Growth; Evidence from Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia," IMF Working Papers 99/40, International Monetary Fund.
    9. Solow, Robert M., 2000. "Growth Theory: An Exposition," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 2, number 9780195109030.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kodila-Tedika , Oasis, 2014. "Forget your gods: African evidence on the relation between state capacity and cognitive ability of leading politicians," European Economic Letters, European Economics Letters Group, vol. 3(1), pages 7-11.
    2. Amavilah, Voxi Heinrich, 2006. "Intensity of technology use and per capita real GDP across some African countries," MPRA Paper 1675, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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