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Untangling the Quality of Governance from the Level of Income: Are Sub-Saharan African Countries Governed Well?

  • Erich Gundlach
  • Susanne Hartmann

We consider whether Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries are mainly poor because they are governed worse than other countries, as suggested by recent studies on the supremacy of institutions. Our empirical results show that the supremacy of institutions does not hold. SSA countries appear to face very specific development problems. Given their geographic and economic constraints, we conclude that SSA countries are on average not governed worse than other comparable countries. Our finding supports the basic argument of a recent UN report (UN Millennium Project 2005). However, we find that the UN report is based on empirical evidence that appears to imply the supremacy of institutions.

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Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Kiel Working Papers with number 1241.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kie:kieliw:1241
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  1. Hibbs Jr., Douglas A. & Olsson, Ola, 2003. "Geography, Biogeography and Why Some Countries are Rich and Others Poor," Working Papers in Economics 105, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 15 Jan 2004.
  2. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2001. "Tropical Underdevelopment," NBER Working Papers 8119, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  4. Author-Name: Jeffrey D. Sachs & John W. McArthur & Guido Schmidt-Traub & Margaret Kruk & Chandrika Bahadur & Michael Faye & Gordon McCord, 2004. "Ending Africa's Poverty Trap," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 35(1), pages 117-240.
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  8. Daniel Kaufmann & Aart Kraay & Massimo Mastruzzi, 2003. "Governance Matters III: Governance Indicators for 1996-2002," Macroeconomics 0308006, EconWPA.
  9. Jinyong Hahn & Jerry Hausman, 1999. "A New Specification Test for the Validity of Instrumental Variables," Working papers 99-11, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  10. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-50, November.
  11. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Paul Collier & Jan Willem Gunning, 1998. "Explaining African economic performance," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/1997-02.2, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  13. Albouy, David, 2006. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Investigation of the Settler Mortality Data," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt8kt576x8, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  14. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2003. "Institutions Don't Rule: Direct Effects of Geography on Per Capita Income," NBER Working Papers 9490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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