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Initial Conditions, European Colonialism and Africa's Growth

We investigate the role of initial conditions at colonial independence on economic growth in Africa in the post-independence period using Bayesian Model Averaging (BMA). A key innovation in our estimation methodology is that we incorporate parameter heterogeneity in model averaging as well as try to mitigate the endogeneity problem present in growth regressions. In order to ensure that differences in the growth determinants between Africa and the world are not driven by experiences of an alternative group of countries, we also control for the presence of OECD countries and former European colonies in the global sample. We find that the impact of different initial conditions on growth in Africa is strikingly different from the world. We argue that these initial conditions reflect the state of development at the close of the colonial era and are therefore inherently related with the legacy of colonialism.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Louisiana State University in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 2006-01.

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Handle: RePEc:lsu:lsuwpp:2006-01
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  1. Xavier Sala-I-Martin & Gernot Doppelhofer & Ronald I. Miller, 2004. "Determinants of Long-Term Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (BACE) Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 813-835, September.
  2. Temple, Jonathan, 1998. "Initial Conditions, Social Capital and Growth in Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 7(3), pages 309-47, October.
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    • Durlauf, Steven N. & Johnson, Paul A. & Temple, Jonathan R.W., 2005. "Growth Econometrics," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 555-677 Elsevier.
  8. Elsa V. Artadi & Xavier Sala-i-Martín, 2003. "The economic tragedy of the XXth Century: Growth in Africa," Economics Working Papers 684, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  9. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew D. Mellinger, 1998. "Geography and Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 6849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Block, Steven A., 2001. "Does Africa grow differently?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 443-467, August.
  12. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1997. "I just ran four million regressions," Economics Working Papers 201, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  13. Sachs, Jeffrey D & Warner, Andrew M, 1997. "Sources of Slow Growth in African Economies," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 6(3), pages 335-76, October.
  14. Robert H. Bates, 2000. "Ethnicity and Development in Africa: A Reappraisal," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 131-134, May.
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  16. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew D. Mellinger, 1998. "Geography and Economic Development," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1856, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  17. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  18. 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.
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  26. Paap, Richard & Franses, Philip Hans & van Dijk, Dick, 2005. "Does Africa grow slower than Asia, Latin America and the Middle East? Evidence from a new data-based classification method," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 553-570, August.
  27. repec:rus:hseeco:70719 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A, 2002. "An African Success Story: Botswana," CEPR Discussion Papers 3219, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  29. Jonathan Temple, 1999. "The New Growth Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 112-156, March.
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