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Structural Transformation in Africa: Static Gains, Dynamic Losses

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  • Gaaitzen de Vries
  • Marcel Timmer
  • Klaas de Vries

Abstract

This paper places recent growth and structural transformation in 11 Sub-Saharan African countries in historical and international perspective. During the early post-independence period, resources were reallocated to manufacturing activities with high productivity growth. Structural change stalled in the mid-1970s. When it resumed in the 1990s, workers mainly relocated to distributive trade services. Productivity levels in these activities were higher than in agriculture, enhancing overall economy performance. But services productivity growth was sluggish and increasingly falling behind the world frontier. These patterns are also observed in Latin America, but not in Asia.

Suggested Citation

  • Gaaitzen de Vries & Marcel Timmer & Klaas de Vries, 2015. "Structural Transformation in Africa: Static Gains, Dynamic Losses," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(6), pages 674-688, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:51:y:2015:i:6:p:674-688
    DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2014.997222
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Margaret S. McMillan & Kenneth Harttgen, 2014. "What is driving the 'African Growth Miracle'?," NBER Working Papers 20077, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Margaret S. McMillan & Dani Rodrik, 2011. "Globalization, Structural Change and Productivity Growth," NBER Working Papers 17143, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Margaret McMillan & Kenneth Harttgen, 2014. "Working Paper - 209 - What is driving the African Growth Miracle," Working Paper Series 2145, African Development Bank.
    4. repec:dgr:rugggd:gd-149 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Gaaitzen de Vries & Marcel Timmer & Klaas de Vries, 2015. "Structural Transformation in Africa: Static Gains, Dynamic Losses," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(6), pages 674-688, June.
    6. repec:dgr:rugggd:gd-136 is not listed on IDEAS
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