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The quest for the African dummy: explaining African post‐colonial economic performance revisited


  • Morten Jerven


Cross-sectional studies of growth in post‐colonial Africa have overwhelmingly focussed on explaining the failure of growth in Africa. This prompting stylised fact has its qualifications and when these are taken into consideration the explanations of African economic growth appear incoherent. The notion of a chronic African growth failure has diverted attention from the process of economic growth and left important questions unaddressed. The quest for the African dummy has delivered transferable conclusions with a strong impact on the writing of African economic history. This critical survey of the literature argues that African economic performance needs to be evaluated from a different perspective. Copyright (C) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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  • Morten Jerven, 2011. "The quest for the African dummy: explaining African post‐colonial economic performance revisited," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(2), pages 288-307, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:23:y:2011:i:2:p:288-307

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    1. Asongu, Simplice A & Nwachukwu, Jacinta C., 2016. "Unjust Enrichment from Official Corruption in Africa: Theory and Model on how Lenders have benefited," MPRA Paper 75416, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Kodila-Tedika, Oasis & Asongu, Simplice & Cinyabuguma, Matthias, 2016. "The White Man’s Burden: On the Effect of African Resistance to European Domination," MPRA Paper 74228, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Jerven, Morten & Austin, Gareth & Green, Erik & Uche, Chibuike & Frankema, Ewout & Fourie, Johan & Inikori, Joseph & Moradi, Alexander & Hillbom, Ellen, 2012. "Moving Forward in African Economic History. Bridging the Gap Between Methods and Sources," Lund Papers in Economic History 124, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    4. Gareth Austin & Ewout Frankema & Ewout Morten Jerven, 2015. "Patterns of Manufacturing Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa: From Colonization to the Present," Working Papers 0071, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.
    5. Kodila-Tedika , Oasis, 2014. "Forget your gods: African evidence on the relation between state capacity and cognitive ability of leading politicians," European Economic Letters, European Economics Letters Group, vol. 3(1), pages 7-11.
    6. Florian Schaefer & Girum Abebe, 2015. "The case for industrial policy and its application in the Ethiopian cut flower sector," Working Papers 012, Ethiopian Development Research Institute.
    7. 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).
    8. Fenske, James, 2010. "Institutions in African history and development: A review essay," MPRA Paper 23120, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Asongu, Simplice, 2015. "Rational Asymmetric Development: Transfer Mispricing and Sub-Saharan Africa’s Extreme Poverty Tragedy," MPRA Paper 71175, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Simplice Asongu, 2015. "Rational Asymmetric Development: Transfer Pricing and Sub-Saharan Africa’s Extreme Poverty Tragedy," Working Papers 15/017, African Governance and Development Institute..
    11. Bezemer, Dirk & Bolt, Jutta & Lensink, Robert, 2014. "Slavery, Statehood, and Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 148-163.
    12. Leo de Haan, 2010. "Perspectives on African Studies and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa," Africa Spectrum, Institute of African Affairs, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 45(1), pages 95-116.


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