An African Success Story: Botswana
Botswana has had the highest rate of per capita growth of any country in the world in the last 35 years. This occurred despite adverse initial conditions, including minimal investment during the colonial period and high inequality. Botswana achieved this rapid development by following orthodox economic policies. How Botswana sustained these policies is a puzzle because typically in Africa, ‘good economics’ has proved not to be politically feasible. In this Paper we suggest that good policies were chosen in Botswana because good institutions, which we refer to as institutions of private property, were in place. Why did institutions of private property arise in Botswana, but not other African nations? We conjecture that the following factors were important. First, Botswana possessed relatively inclusive pre-colonial institutions, placing constraints on political elites. Second, the effect of British colonialism on Botswana was minimal, and did not destroy these institutions. Third, following independence, maintaining and strengthening institutions of private property were in the economic interests of the elite. Fourth, Botswana is very rich in diamonds, which created enough rents that no group wanted to challenge the status quo at the expense of ‘rocking the boat’. Finally, we emphasize that this situation was reinforced by a number of critical decisions made by the post-independence leaders, particularly Presidents Khama and Masire.
|Date of creation:||Feb 2002|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
|Order Information:|| Email: |
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- repec:oup:qjecon:v:106:y:1991:i:2:p:407-43 is not listed on IDEAS
- repec:oup:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:4:p:1203-50 is not listed on IDEAS
- Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1993.
"Is Inequality Harmful for Growth,"
537, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
- Alesina, Alberto F & Rodrik, Dani, 1991.
"Distributive Politics and Economic Growth,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
565, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Rodrik, Dani & Alesina, Alberto, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," Scholarly Articles 4551798, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001.
"The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
- Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Roland Benabou, 2000. "Unequal Societies: Income Distribution and the Social Contract," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 96-129, March.
- Catherine Boone, 1998. "State building in the African countryside: Structure and politics at the grassroots," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(4), pages 1-31.
- Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," NBER Working Papers 8460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew M. Warner, 1995.
"Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growth,"
NBER Working Papers
5398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Barro, R.J., 1989.
"Economic Growth In A Cross Section Of Countries,"
RCER Working Papers
201, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
- repec:tpr:qjecon:v:117:y:2002:i:4:p:1231-1294 is not listed on IDEAS
- repec:tpr:qjecon:v:106:y:1991:i:2:p:407-43 is not listed on IDEAS
- David E. Bloom & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1998. "Geography, Demography, and Economic Growth in Africa," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 207-296.
- repec:tpr:qjecon:v:109:y:1994:i:2:p:465-90 is not listed on IDEAS
- James A. Robinson & Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "Political Losers as a Barrier to Economic Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 126-130, May.
- repec:oup:qjecon:v:109:y:1994:i:2:p:465-90 is not listed on IDEAS
This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
- List of bordering countries with greatest relative differences in GDP (PPP) per capita in Wikipedia English ne '')
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3219. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask to update the entry or send us the correct address
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.