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Human Development in Africa: A Long-run Perspective

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  • Prados de la Escosura, Leandro

Abstract

Long-run trends in Africa’s well-being are provided on the basis of a new index of human development, alternative to the UNDP’s HDI. A sustained improvement in African human development is found that falls, nonetheless, short of those experienced in other developing regions. Within Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa has fallen steadily behind the North since mid-20th century. Human development improvement is positively associated to being coastal and resource-rich and negatively to political-economy distortions. Contrary to the world experience, in which life expectancy dominated, education has driven progress in African human development during the last half-a-century and, due to the impact of HIV/AIDS on life expectancy and the arresting effect of economic mismanagement and political turmoil on growth, advances in human development since 1990 have depended almost exclusively on education achievements. The large country variance of the recovery during the last decade suggests being cautious about the future’s prospects.

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  • Prados de la Escosura, Leandro, 2011. "Human Development in Africa: A Long-run Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 8586, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8586
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    Cited by:

    1. Guido Alfani & Federico Tadei, 2017. "Income Inequality in Colonial Africa: Building Social Tables for Pre-Independence Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, and Senegal," Working Papers 594, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    2. Nicola Amendola & Giacomo Gabbuti & Giovanni Vecchi, 2021. "On Some Problems of Using the Human Development Index in Economic History," LEM Papers Series 2021/42, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    3. Jutta Bolt & Jan Luiten Zanden, 2014. "The Maddison Project: collaborative research on historical national accounts," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(3), pages 627-651, August.
    4. Marian Leimbach & Niklas Roming & Gregor Schwerhoff & Anselm Schultes, 2016. "Development perspectives of Sub-Saharan Africa under climate policies," EcoMod2016 9336, EcoMod.
    5. Andersson, Jens & Andersson, Martin, 2019. "Beyond Miracle and Malaise: Social Capability in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal during the Development Era 1930-1980," Lund Papers in Economic History 202, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    6. Prados de la Escosura, Leandro, 2019. "Human Development in the Age of Globalisation," CEPR Discussion Papers 13744, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Emanuele Felice & Michelangelo Vasta, 2015. "Passive modernization? The new human development index and its components in Italy's regions (1871–2007)," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 44-66.
    8. Lucilla Maria Bruni & Jamele Rigolini & Sara Troiano, 2016. "Forever Young?," World Bank Publications - Reports 24996, The World Bank Group.
    9. Leander Heldring & James A. Robinson, 2012. "Colonialism and Economic Development in Africa," NBER Working Papers 18566, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Andreas Exenberger & Simon Hartmann, 2013. "How Does Institutional Change Coincide with Changes in the Quality of Life? An Exemplary Case Study," Working Papers 2013-09, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    11. Boima M. Bernard & Yanping Song & Sehresh Hena & Fayyaz Ahmad & Xin Wang, 2022. "Assessing Africa’s Agricultural TFP for Food Security and Effects on Human Development: Evidence from 35 Countries," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(11), pages 1-21, May.
    12. Hillary Chijindu Ezeaku & Ifeoma C. Nwakoby & Obiamaka P. Egbo & Josaphat U. J. Onwumere, 2019. "On the Dynamic Effect of Bilateral Concessional Debts on Living Standards in Sub-Saharan Africa," SAGE Open, , vol. 9(3), pages 21582440198, September.
    13. Broadberry, Stephen & Gardner, Leigh, 2016. "Economic Development In Africa And Europe: Reciprocal Comparisons," Revista de Historia Económica / Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(1), pages 11-37, March.
    14. Leandro Prados de la Escosura, 2015. "World Human Development: 1870–2007," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 61(2), pages 220-247, June.
    15. Nicola Amendola & Giacomo Gabbuti & Giovanni Vecchi, 2018. "On the use of composite indices in economic history. Lessons from Italy, 1861-2017," HHB Working Papers Series 11, The Historical Household Budgets Project.
    16. Meier zu Selhausen, Felix P. & van Leeuwen, Marco H.D. & Weisdorf, Jacob L., 2015. "Social Mobility among Christian Africans: Evidence from Ugandan Marriage Registers 1895-2011," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 239, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    17. Van Leeuwen, Bas & van Leeuwen-Li, Jieli & Foldvari, Peter, 2012. "Education as a driver of income inequality in twentieth-century Africa," MPRA Paper 43574, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Emanuele Felice, 2016. "The Misty Grail: The Search for a Comprehensive Measure of Development and the Reasons for GDP Primacy," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 47(5), pages 967-994, September.
    19. Andersson, Jens, 2018. "Tax Stabilisation, Trade and Political Transitions in Francophone West Africa over 120 Years," African Economic History Working Paper 41/2018, African Economic History Network.
    20. Prados de la Escosura, Leandro, 2019. "Human Development in the Age of Globalisation," CEPR Discussion Papers 13744, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Africa; Education; HDI; Human Development; Life Expectancy; Sub-Saharan Africa;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General
    • N37 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Africa; Oceania
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa

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