IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Growth, history, or institutions

Listed author(s):
  • Graziella Bertocchi


    (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, CEPR, CHILD & IZA)

  • Andrea Guerzoni

    (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia)

This article explores the empirical determinants of state fragility in sub-Saharan Africa over the 1992–2007 period. Our dataset includes those sub-Saharan countries for which we have information on the distribution by quintiles of the World Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) ratings. We evaluate the potential influence on fragility of a wide range of economic, institutional, and historical variables. Among economic factors, we consider per-capita GDP, both in levels and growth rates, investment, natural resources, and schooling. We also consider economic policy variables such as government expenditures, trade openness, and inflation. Demographic forces are accounted for through the fertility rate, life expectancy, and the youth bulge. Institutional factors are captured by measures of ethnic fractionalization, civil liberties, revolutions, and conflicts, as well as governance indicators. Moreover, we select historical variables that reflect the colonial experience of the region, namely the national identity of the colonizers and the political status during the colonial period. Finally, we account for geographic factors such as latitude, access to sea, and the presence of fragile neighbors. Our central findings is that institutions are the main determinants of fragility: even after controlling for reverse causality and omitted variable bias, the probability for a country to be fragile increases with restrictions of civil liberties and with the number of revolutions. Before controlling for endogeneity, economic factors such as per-capita GDP growth and investment show some explanatory power, but economic prosperity displays a contradictory net impact since growth reduces fragility while investment facilitates it. Moreover, instrumental variables estimates show that per-capita GDP growth is no longer a significant factor. Colonial variables display a marginal residual influence: after controlling for all other factors former colonies are actually associated with a lower probability of being fragile.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Article provided by Peace Research Institute Oslo in its journal Journal of Peace Research.

Volume (Year): 49 (2012)
Issue (Month): 6 (November)
Pages: 769-783

in new window

Handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:49:y:2012:i:6:p:769-783
Contact details of provider: Web page:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:49:y:2012:i:6:p:769-783. 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: (SAGE Publications)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.