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Development as Diffusion: Manufacturing Productivity and Sub-Saharan Africa’s Missing Middle - Working Paper 357

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  • Alan Gelb, Christian Meyer, and Vijaya Ramachandran

Abstract

We consider economic development of Sub-Saharan Africa from the perspective of slow convergence of productivity, both across sectors and across firms within sectors. Why have “productivity enclaves”, islands of high productivity in a sea of smaller low-productivity firms, not diffused more rapidly? We summarize and analyze three sets of factors: First, the poor business climate, which constrains the allocation of production factors between sectors and firms. Second, the complex political economy of business-government relations in Africa’s small economies. Third, the distribution of firm capabilities. The roots of these factors lie in Africa’s geography and its distinctive history, including the legacy of its colonial period on state formation and market structure.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan Gelb, Christian Meyer, and Vijaya Ramachandran, 2014. "Development as Diffusion: Manufacturing Productivity and Sub-Saharan Africa’s Missing Middle - Working Paper 357," Working Papers 357, Center for Global Development.
  • Handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:357
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    Cited by:

    1. Takahashi, Motoki, 2017. "Enterprise promotion in the road construction sector in a conflict-ridden area in Kenya : a solution for the nexus of developmental problems?," IDE Discussion Papers 670, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
    2. Rodrik, Dani, 2014. "An African Growth Miracle?," CEPR Discussion Papers 10005, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. repec:oup:jafrec:v:27:y:2018:i:1:p:10-27. is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Bennett, John & Levy, Stephanie, 2018. "Family Ceremonies as a Constraint on Informal Sector Investment: The Case of Sénégal," IZA Discussion Papers 11529, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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    Keywords

    Productivity; Manufacturing; Dualism; Firms; Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology

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