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Intra-sub-Saharan African Trade: Is It Too Little?


  • Foroutan, Faezeh
  • Pritchett, Lant


Trade among sub-Saharan African countries is very limited. This fact, plus other political and economic considerations, has been used to motivate a growing number of regional integration schemes. Although many authors have shown that intra-sub-Saharan African trade is limited, none has yet asked whether the level of intra-sub-Saharan African trade is higher or lower than one would expect, given a plausible model of the determination of trade flows. The authors compare actual trade with what a traditional gravity model would predict. They find that a gravity model predicts the low level of intra-sub-Saharan African trade. For the 19 sub-Saharan African countries in their sample, the actual sub-Saharan African share of imports plus exports was an average (median) of 8.1 percent (4.5 percent) while the gravity model predicts a slightly lower, not higher, mean (median) of 7.5 percent (4.5 percent).
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  • Foroutan, Faezeh & Pritchett, Lant, 1993. "Intra-sub-Saharan African Trade: Is It Too Little?," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 2(1), pages 74-105, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jafrec:v:2:y:1993:i:1:p:74-105

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Yeats, Alexander J, 1990. "Do African Countries Pay More for Imports? Yes," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 4(1), pages 1-20, January.
    2. Deardorff, Alan V., 1984. "Testing trade theories and predicting trade flows," Handbook of International Economics,in: R. W. Jones & P. B. Kenen (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 10, pages 467-517 Elsevier.
    3. Corden, W M, 1972. "Economies of Scale and Customs Union Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(3), pages 465-475, May-June.
    4. Srivastava, Rajendra K & Green, Robert T, 1986. "Determinants of Bilateral Trade Flows," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages 623-640, October.
    5. Summers, Robert & Heston, Alan, 1988. "A New Set of International Comparisons of Real Product and Price Levels Estimates for 130 Countries, 1950-1985," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(1), pages 1-25, March.
    6. Harry G. Johnson, 1965. "An Economic Theory of Protectionism, Tariff Bargaining, and the Formation of Customs Unions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73, pages 256-256.
    7. Anderson, James E, 1979. "A Theoretical Foundation for the Gravity Equation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 106-116, March.
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