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Political Economy of growth and poverty in Burkina Faso: Power, Institutions and Rents


  • Estelle Koussoubé

    () (PSL, Université Paris Dauphine, LEDa, IRD, UMR DIAL)

  • Augustin Loada

    () (University of Ouagadougou)

  • Gustave Nebié

    () (UNICEF, Dakar)

  • Marc Raffinot

    () (LEDa, UMR DIAL-Paris-Dauphine)


(english) This paper is an attempt to assess the relevance of the use of the North, Wallis and Weingast (2009) framework to explain the performances of Burkina Faso in terms of economic growth and development. The political history of Burkina Faso has been very unstable until president Campaoré took power in 1987. Since then, the stability has been based on low intensity violence, with bursts of open violence like those of the mutinies of 2011. This “stability” is based on the balance of power between two main “elite” groups, the army and the traditional chiefs. Trade unions, the Catholic Church and Donors also play a role, especially in case of trouble. The political class in power and its cronies are extracting rents by creating de facto monopolies, which enables them to tame violence, to a certain extent. The paradox is that the Burkinabe economy is growing steadily (GDP per capital grew at an average 1.5 per cent rate since independence), rather smoothly in the medium run – one of the best records in West-Africa. Because of high inequality, this impressive growth is far from inclusive. _________________________________ (français) Nous évaluons dans ce document la pertinence de l’approche de North, Wallis and Weingast (2009) pour expliquer les performances du Burkina Faso en termes de croissance économique et de développement. L’histoire politique du Burkina Faso a été très agitée avant que le président Campaoré prenne le pouvoir en 1987. Depuis, la stabilité repose sur une violence de faible intensité, avec des explosions sporadiques de violence ouverte, comme les mutineries de 2011. Cette « stabilité » repose sur un équilibre des pouvoirs entre deux principales « élites », l’armée et les chefs traditionnels. Les syndicats, l’église catholique et les bailleurs de fonds jouent également un rôle, notamment en cas de troubles. Le groupe qui détient le pouvoir avec ses affidés extrait des rentes en créant des monopoles de fait, ce qui leur permet de maintenir la violence sous contrôle, du moins dans une certaine mesure. Le paradoxe est que l’économie burkinabè connaît une croissance soutenue (le PIB par tête a cru à un taux de 1,5 % en moyenne depuis l’indépendance), et de manière assez stable à moyen terme, ce qui constitue une des meilleures performances en Afrique de l’Ouest. Du fait d’une inégalité élevée, cette croissance assez impressionnante ne bénéficie pas à tout le monde.

Suggested Citation

  • Estelle Koussoubé & Augustin Loada & Gustave Nebié & Marc Raffinot, 2014. "Political Economy of growth and poverty in Burkina Faso: Power, Institutions and Rents," Working Papers DT/2014/01, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  • Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt201401

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Dani Rodrik, 2008. "Goodbye Washington Consensus, Hello Washington Confusion? A Review of the World Banks Economic Growth in the 1990s: Learning from a Decade of Reform," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 55(2), pages 135-156, June.
    3. Brou E Aka & Bernardin Akitoby & Amor Tahari & Dhaneshwar Ghura, 2004. "Sources of Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa," IMF Working Papers 04/176, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Yves Bourdet & Inga Persson, 2001. "Reform policy, growth and poverty in Burkina Faso," Africa Spectrum, Institute of African Affairs, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 36(2), pages 169-202.
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    More about this item


    Burkina Faso; Limited Access Order; Long term growth; Political economy; Croissance à long terme; Economie politique; Institutions; Ordre social à accès limité.;

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa

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