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Is Poverty in the African DNA (Gene)?

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  • Simplice A. Asongu
  • Oasis Kodila†Tedika

Abstract

A 2015 World Bank report on attainment of Millennium Development Goals concludes that the number of extremely poor has dropped substantially in all regions with the exception of Sub†Saharan Africa. We assess if poverty is in the African gene by revisiting the findings of Ashraf and Galor and reformulating the “Out of Africa Hypothesis†into a “Genetic Diversity Hypothesis†for a “Within Africa Analysis.†We motivate this reformulation with five shortcomings largely drawn from the 2015 findings of the African Gerome Variation Project, notably: limitations in the conception of space, an African dummy in genetic diversity, linearity in migratory patterns, migratory origins and underpinnings of genetic diversity in Africa. Ashraf and Galor have concluded that cross†country differences in development can be explained by genetic diversity in a Kuznets or inverted U†shaped pattern. Our results from an exclusive African perspective partially confirm the underlying hypothesis in a contemporary context, but not in the historical analysis. From a historical context, the nexus is U†shaped for migratory distance, mobility index and predicted diversity while for the contemporary analysis; it is hump shaped for ancestry†adjusted predicted diversity. Hence from a within†Africa comparative standpoint, poverty is not in the African gene.

Suggested Citation

  • Simplice A. Asongu & Oasis Kodila†Tedika, 2017. "Is Poverty in the African DNA (Gene)?," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 85(4), pages 533-552, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:sajeco:v:85:y:2017:i:4:p:533-552
    DOI: 10.1111/saje.12165
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    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N50 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O50 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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