Political Instability and Export Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa
The political landscape of post-independent sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has been one of rampant coups d'etat. Existing evidence suggests such elite political instability (PI) has been growth-inhibiting even when exports are accounted for. In the light of the increasing interest in the role of export-promotion strategies in fostering economic growth, however, the present paper examines the impact of PI on export performance in these economies. The paper explores the hypothesis that the lack of a stable political environment adversely influences export performance via competitiveness, and that PI may actually play a more crucial role in export than in overall GDP growth. Based on detailed data on the incidence of coups in 30 SSA countries, real export growth over 1967-1986 is regressed on a principal-component of the various forms of coup events - "successful" coups, abortive coups, and coup plots - as well as on export structure, terms of trade, production capacity, and exchange rate misalignment. The results support the above hypothesis of an adverse impact of PI on export growth, and further suggest that PI has been even more deleterious to exports than to overall GDP.
Volume (Year): 39 (2003)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
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