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Explaining Africa's Growth Tragedy: A Theoretical Model of Dictatorship and Kleptocracy

  • Yuan K. Chou
  • Hayat Khan

In this paper, we construct a dynamic model of a kleptocratic dictatorship to explain sub-Saharan Africa’s dismal economic performance between the early 1970s and the mid-1990s. The dictator’s objective is to maximize a discounted stream of revenue generated through theft of the economy’s output by choosing the optimal expropriation rate and the size of the security force employed to enforce his rule. The model is used to evaluate alternative intervention options open to developed countries such as unconditional, conditional and selective foreign aid, financial and military assistance to rebel groups, as well as medical relief to combat the HIV/AIDs pandemic.

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Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 922.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:922
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne, 4th Floor, FBE Building, Level 4, 111 Barry Street. Victoria, 3010, Australia
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Web page: http://www.economics.unimelb.edu.au
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  1. William Easterly, 2003. "Can Foreign Aid Buy Growth?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 23-48, Summer.
  2. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1997. "A Theory of Misgovernance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1289-1332, November.
  3. Collier, Paul & Dollar, David, 2001. "Can the World Cut Poverty in Half? How Policy Reform and Effective Aid Can Meet International Development Goals," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1787-1802, November.
  4. Jody Overland, Kenneth Simons and Michael Spagat, 2003. "Political Instability and Growth in Dictatorships," Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics 03/11, Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London, revised Dec 2003.
  5. Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Henrik Hansen & Finn Tarp, 2004. "On The Empirics of Foreign Aid and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(496), pages F191-F216, 06.
  6. David Dollar & Craig Burnside, 2000. "Aid, Policies, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 847-868, September.
  7. Jan Willem Gunning & Paul Collier, 1999. "Explaining African Economic Performance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 64-111, March.
  8. Alesina, Alberto & Dollar, David, 2000. " Who Gives Foreign Aid to Whom and Why?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 33-63, March.
  9. John Sender, 1999. "Africa's Economic Performance: Limitations of the Current Consensus," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 89-114, Summer.
  10. C-J. Dalgaard & H. Hansen, 2001. "On Aid, Growth and Good Policies," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(6), pages 17-41.
  11. Paul Mosley & John Hudson & Arjan Verschoor, 2004. "Aid, Poverty Reduction and the 'New Conditionality'," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(496), pages F217-F243, 06.
  12. Baizhu Chen & Yi Feng, 1999. "Economic development and the transition to democracy a formal model," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 1-16.
  13. Benno J. Ndulu & Stephen A. O'Connell, 1999. "Governance and Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 41-66, Summer.
  14. William Easterly & Ross Levine & David Roodman, 2003. "New Data, New Doubts: Revisiting "Aid, Policies, and Growth"," Working Papers 26, Center for Global Development.
  15. Boone, Peter, 1996. "Politics and the effectiveness of foreign aid," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 289-329, February.
  16. Levy, Victor, 1988. "Aid and growth in Sub-Saharan Africa: The recent experience," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1777-1795, November.
  17. Hansen, Henrik & Tarp, Finn, 2001. "Aid and growth regressions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 547-570, April.
  18. Maurice Obstfeld., 1998. "Foreign Resource Inflows, Saving, and Growth," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C98-099, University of California at Berkeley.
  19. Banerjee, A.V., 1997. "A Theory of Misgovernance," Working papers 97-4, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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