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Random Growth in Africa? Lessons from an Evaluation of the Growth Evidence on Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia, 1965-1995

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  • Morten Jerven

Abstract

Given shortcomings in basic data collection and insufficient resources in preparing official statistics African growth data are unlikely to be very reliable. Estimates of an annual growth rate of 3 per cent may be consistent with a reality between 0 and 6 per cent growth. Although data from international databases are widely used in an expanding literature on African growth there has been no research into how serious these data inaccuracies are. This paper addresses the reliability of the available growth evidence for a selection of countries and offers concrete measures of inaccuracies. It examines the reasons for discrepancies and shows that they can be quite large.

Suggested Citation

  • Morten Jerven, 2010. "Random Growth in Africa? Lessons from an Evaluation of the Growth Evidence on Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia, 1965-1995," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(2), pages 274-294.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:46:y:2010:i:2:p:274-294
    DOI: 10.1080/00220380903370161
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ariyo, A., 1996. "Quality of Macroeconomic Data on Africa: Nigeria as a Case Study," Papers 22s, African Economic Research Consortium.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lange, Simon & Klasen, Stephan, 2017. "How the New International Goal for Child Mortality is Unfair to Sub-Saharan Africa (Again)," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 128-146.
    2. Gregor Semieniuk, 2016. "Fossil energy in economic growth: A study of the energy direction of technical change, 1950-2012," SPRU Working Paper Series 2016-11, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
    3. Kodila-Tedika, Oasis, 2013. "Poor Numbers: explanation of Africa's statistical tragedy
      [Pauvreté de chiffres : explication de la tragédie statistique africaine]
      ," MPRA Paper 43734, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Jerven, Morten, 2014. "African growth miracle or statistical tragedy? Interpreting trends in the data over the past two decades," WIDER Working Paper Series 114, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    5. Frankema, Ewout & Waijenburg, Marlous Van, 2012. "Structural Impediments to African Growth? New Evidence from Real Wages in British Africa, 1880–1965," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(04), pages 895-926, December.
    6. repec:eee:deveco:v:127:y:2017:i:c:p:133-152 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Oasis Kodila-Tedika, 2014. "Africa's statistical tragedy: best statistics, best government effectiveness," International Journal of Development Issues, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 13(2), pages 171-178, July.
    8. Bwire, Thomas & Lloyd, Tim & Morrissey, Oliver, 2013. "A Timeseries Analysis of the Impact of Foreign Aid on Central Government's Fiscal Budget in Uganda," WIDER Working Paper Series 101, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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