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Root Causes of African Underdevelopment

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  • Sambit Bhattacharyya

Abstract

What are the root causes of Africa's current state of under-development? Is it the long history of slave trade, or the legacy of extractive colonial institutions, or the fallout of malaria? We investigate the relative contributions of these factors using an instrumental variable approach. The results show that malaria matters the most and all other factors are statistically insignificant. Malaria also negatively affects savings. Using a two period overlapping generation model we show that malaria impacts economic performance by increasing both mortality and morbidity. Increased mortality increases current household consumption and discourages savings. Increased morbidity adversely affects labour productivity. The combined impact is a slowdown of capital accumulation and economic growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Sambit Bhattacharyya, 2008. "Root Causes of African Underdevelopment," Departmental Working Papers 2008-16, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:pas:papers:2008-16
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Poverty; Vulnerability; Food security; Cross-section data;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
    • N0 - Economic History - - General

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