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Explaining African economic performance

  • Paul Collier
  • Jan Willem Gunning

Africa has had slow growth and a massive exodus of capital. In many respects it has been the most capital-hostile region. We review and interpret the aggregate-level and microeconomic literatures to identify the key explanations for this performance. There is a reasonable correspondence of the two sets of evidence, pointing to four factors as being important. These are a lack of openness to international trade; a high-risk environment; a low level of social capital; and poor infrastructure. These problems are to a substantial extent attributable to government behavior, and the paper includes a review of the political economy literature addressing that behavior.

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Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 1997-02.2.

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Date of creation: 1997
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Economic Literature, XXXVII (March), 1999, pp64-111
Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:1997-02.2
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