IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The impact of policy reversal on economic performance in Sub-Saharan Africa


  • Yago, Milton
  • Morgan, Wyn


The literature suggests that investment and economic growth respond very slowly to economic reform due to uncertainty about the permanence of reform. Despite clear theoretical underpinnings for the idea that policy reversal significantly impedes economic performance, there is limited empirical evidence on this topic. This paper derives empirical proxies for the probabilities of different types of policy reversal and investigates their impact on investment and growth in Sub-Saharan African countries. The results show that trade, fiscal, savings and financial policy reversals have been very damaging to investment and economic growth. The paper also finds that it is the prediction or expectation that reversal will occur that hurts performance. There is no evidence that exchange rate policy reversal has damaged performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Yago, Milton & Morgan, Wyn, 2008. "The impact of policy reversal on economic performance in Sub-Saharan Africa," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 88-106, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:24:y:2008:i:1:p:88-106

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Policy uncertainty and private investment in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 229-242, October.
    2. A. K. Fosu, 2001. "Economic Fluctuations and Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Importance of Import Instability," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(3), pages 71-85.
    3. Dani Rodrik & Arvind Subramanian & Francesco Trebbi, 2004. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions Over Geography and Integration in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 131-165, June.
    4. Jakob De Haan & Susanna Lundström & Jan-Egbert Sturm, 2006. "Market-oriented institutions and policies and economic growth: A critical survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(2), pages 157-191, April.
    5. Egger, Peter & Winner, Hannes, 2005. "Evidence on corruption as an incentive for foreign direct investment," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 932-952, December.
    6. Dollar, David & Svensson, Jakob, 2000. "What Explains the Success or Failure of Structural Adjustment Programmes?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(466), pages 894-917, October.
    7. Jan Willem Gunning & Paul Collier, 1999. "Explaining African Economic Performance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 64-111, March.
    8. Hillman, Arye L., 2002. "The World Bank and the persistence of poverty in poor countries," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 783-795, November.
    9. Rodrik, Dani, 1999. "Where Did All the Growth Go? External Shocks, Social Conflict, and Growth Collapses," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 385-412, December.
    10. David E. Bloom & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1998. "Geography, Demography, and Economic Growth in Africa," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 207-296.
    11. Dani Rodrik, 2000. "Institutions for High-Quality Growth: What They are and How to Acquire Them," NBER Working Papers 7540, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Savvides, Andreas, 1992. "Investment Slowdown in Developing Countries during the 1980s: Debt Overhang or Foreign Capital Inflows?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(3), pages 363-378.
    13. Pindyck, Robert S, 1991. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Investment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 1110-1148, September.
    14. Bouton, Lawrence & Jones, Christine & Kiguel, Miguel, 1994. "Macroeconomic reform and growth in Africa : adjustment in Africa revisited," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1394, The World Bank.
    15. Pindyck, Robert S, 1988. "Irreversible Investment, Capacity Choice, and the Value of the Firm," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 969-985, December.
    16. Mendez, Fabio & Sepulveda, Facundo, 2006. "Corruption, growth and political regimes: Cross country evidence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 82-98, March.
    17. Easterly, William, 2005. "What did structural adjustment adjust?: The association of policies and growth with repeated IMF and World Bank adjustment loans," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 1-22, February.
    18. Dhaneshwar Ghura & Michael T. Hadjimichael, 1995. "Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa," IMF Working Papers 95/136, International Monetary Fund.
    19. Axel Borrmann & Matthias Busse & Silke Neuhaus, 2006. "Institutional Quality and the Gains from Trade," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(3), pages 345-368, August.
    20. Carolyn Jenkins, 1997. "Post-Independence economic policy and investment in Zimbabwe," CSAE Working Paper Series 1997-04, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    21. Bluedorn, John C., 2001. "Can democracy help? Growth and ethnic divisions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 121-126, January.
    22. Pranab Bardhan, 1997. "Corruption and Development: A Review of Issues," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1320-1346, September.
    23. Bleaney, Michael F., 1996. "Macroeconomic stability, investment and growth in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 461-477, March.
    24. Michael Bleaney & David Fielding,, "undated". "Investment, Trade Liberalisation and Structural Adjustment (Forthcoming in Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 32, 1995, pp.175-94)," Discussion Papers 95/3, University of Nottingham, CREDIT.
    25. Kormendi, Roger C. & Meguire, Philip G., 1985. "Macroeconomic determinants of growth: Cross-country evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 141-163, September.
    26. Feder, Gershon & Just, Richard E., 1977. "A study of debt servicing capacity applying logit analysis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 25-38, February.
    27. van Wijnbergen, Sweder, 1990. "Trade reform, policy uncertainty, and the current account," Policy Research Working Paper Series 520, The World Bank.
    28. Montalvo, Jose G. & Reynal-Querol, Marta, 2005. "Ethnic diversity and economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 293-323, April.
    29. Ibarra, Luis Alberto, 1995. "Credibility of trade policy reform and investment: the Mexican experience," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 39-60, June.
    30. Fosu, Augustin Kwasi, 1992. "Political Instability and Economic Growth: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(4), pages 829-841, July.
    31. Ghura, Dhaneshwar & Grennes, Thomas J., 1993. "The real exchange rate and macroeconomic performance in Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 155-174, October.
    32. Hillman, Arye L., 2004. "Corruption and public finance: an IMF perspective," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 1067-1077, November.
    33. Sachs, Jeffrey D & Warner, Andrew M, 1997. "Sources of Slow Growth in African Economies," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 6(3), pages 335-376, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Andrew Brooks & David Simon, 2012. "Unravelling the Relationships between Used-Clothing Imports and the Decline of African Clothing Industries," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 43(6), pages 1265-1290, November.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:24:y:2008:i:1:p:88-106. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.