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Dry Times in Africa: Rainfall and Africa's Growth Performance

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  • Barrios, Salvador
  • Bertinelli, Luisito
  • Strobl, Eric

Abstract

While there have been some references in the literature to the potential role of the general decline in rainfall in sub-Saharan African nations on their poor growth performance relative to other developing countries, this avenue remains empirically unexplored. In this paper we use a new cross-country panel climate data set in an economic growth framework to explore the issue. Our results show that rainfall has been a significant determinants of poor economic growth for Africa but not for other developing countries. Depending on the benchmark measure of potential rainfall, we estimate that the direct impact under the scenario of no decline in rainfall would have resulted in a reduction of between 13 and 36 per cent of today's gap in African GDP per capita relative to the rest of the developing world.

Suggested Citation

  • Barrios, Salvador & Bertinelli, Luisito & Strobl, Eric, 2003. "Dry Times in Africa: Rainfall and Africa's Growth Performance," MPRA Paper 5705, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:5705
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jan Willem Gunning & Paul Collier, 1999. "Explaining African Economic Performance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 64-111, March.
    2. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
    3. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong-Wha, 1993. "International comparisons of educational attainment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 363-394, December.
    4. David Dollar & Craig Burnside, 2000. "Aid, Policies, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 847-868, September.
    5. Quah, Danny, 1997. "Empirics for Growth and Distribution: Stratification, Polarization, and Convergence Clubs," CEPR Discussion Papers 1586, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Masters, William A & McMillan, Margaret S, 2001. "Climate and Scale in Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 167-186, September.
    7. Drechsel, Pay & Gyiele, Lucy & Kunze, Dagmar & Cofie, Olufunke, 2001. "Population density, soil nutrient depletion, and economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 251-258, August.
    8. Jonathan Temple, 1999. "The New Growth Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 112-156, March.
    9. Molua, Ernest L., 2002. "Climate variability, vulnerability and effectiveness of farm-level adaptation options: the challenges and implications for food security in Southwestern Cameroon," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(03), pages 529-545, July.
    10. Paul Collier & Jan Willem Gunning, 1999. "Why Has Africa Grown Slowly?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 3-22, Summer.
    11. Paolo Mauro, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712.
    12. 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 335-376, October.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Barrios, Salvador & Bertinelli, Luisito & Strobl, Eric, 2006. "Climatic change and rural-urban migration: The case of sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 357-371, November.
    2. Naude, Wim, 2008. "Conflict, Disasters, and No Jobs: Reasons for International Migration from Sub-Saharan Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series 085, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Naudé, Wim & Bezuidenhout, Henri, 2012. "Remittances provide resilience against disasters in Africa," MERIT Working Papers 026, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    4. Bruno CRUZ & Aude POMMERET, 2003. "Public capital and private investment, a real option approach," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 03.10, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
    5. Wim Naudé, 2011. "Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of the Big Four," Working Papers 2011/34, Maastricht School of Management.
    6. Boubacar, Inoussa, 2010. "Agricultural Productivity, Drought, and Economic Growth in Sahel," 2010 Annual Meeting, February 6-9, 2010, Orlando, Florida 56321, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    7. Alison B. Comfort, 2016. "Long-term effect of in utero conditions on maternal survival later in life: evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(2), pages 493-527, April.
    8. Wim Naudé & Henri Bezuidenhout, 2014. "Migrant Remittances Provide Resilience Against Disasters in Africa," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 42(1), pages 79-90, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Development; Africa; Climate;

    JEL classification:

    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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