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Explaining Growth in Burundi: 1960-2000

  • Janvier Nkurunziza
  • Floribert Ngaruko
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    This study analyses Burundi`s economic performance over the period 1960-2000 and finds that it has been catastrophic. The usual economic factors explaining growth are endogenous to political decisions, suggesting that it is politics not economics that explains the dismal performance. This picture particularly limits the relevance of textbook models that rely on the assumption of a competitive resource allocation rule. When cronies rather than qualified managers are running the economy, when priority is given to investment projects in function of their locationrather than the objective needs of the economy, the economic model loses its explanatory power. Economic performance has been shaped by the occurrence of violent conflicts caused by factions fighting for the control of the state and its rents. The capture of rents by a small group have become the overarching objective of the successive governments that have ruled the country since shortly after its independence. Therefore, the economic system will not change unless the political system is modernised from a dictatorial regime playing a zero-sum game to a more democratic and accountable regime. Therefore, it would be naïve to propose that economic reforms will boost the country`s economy if they are not preceded or at least accompanied by political reforms. One central message of this study is that Burundi`s poor economic performance is the result of specific identifiable factors evolving around governance. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with Burundi: Development failure may be reversed if the issues identified in the study are properly addressed

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    File URL: http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/workingpapers/pdfs/2002-03text.pdf
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    Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number WPS/2002-03.

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    Date of creation: 01 Apr 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:wps/2002-03
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    1. Marcel Fafchamps, 1999. "Networks, communities and markets in sub-Saharan Africa: implications for firm growth and investment," CSAE Working Paper Series 1999-24, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    2. Gemmell, Norman, 1996. "Evaluating the Impacts of Human Capital Stocks and Accumulation on Economic Growth: Some New Evidence," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 58(1), pages 9-28, February.
    3. Arne Bigsten & Paul Collier & Stefan Dercon & Marcel Fafchamps & Bernard Gauthier & Jan Willem Gunning & Abena Oduro & Remco Oostendorp & Cathy Patillo & Mans Soderbom & Francis Teal & Albert Zeufack, 1999. "Contract Flexibility and Dispute Resolution in African Manufacturing," CSAE Working Paper Series 1999-20, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    4. Sleuwaegen, Leo & Goedhuys, Micheline, 2002. "Growth of firms in developing countries, evidence from Cote d'Ivoire," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 117-135, June.
    5. de Janvry, Alain & Fafchamps, Marcel & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 1991. "Peasant Household Behaviour with Missing Markets: Some Paradoxes Explained," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(409), pages 1400-417, November.
    6. Paul Collier & Jan Willem Gunning, 1997. "Explaining African economic performance," CSAE Working Paper Series 1997-02.2, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    7. Benhabib, Jess & Rustichini, Aldo, 1996. " Social Conflict and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 125-42, March.
    8. Reinikka, Ritva & Svensson, Jakob, 1999. "How inadequate provision of public infrastructure and services affects private investment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2262, The World Bank.
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