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The economic tragedy of the XXth Century: Growth in Africa

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  • Elsa V. Artadi
  • Xavier Sala-i-Martín

Abstract

The dismal growth performance of Africa is the worst economic tragedy of the XXth century. We document the evolution of per capita GDP for the continent as a whole and for subset of countries south of the Sahara desert. We document the worsening of various income inequality indexes and we estimate poverty rates and headcounts. We then analyze some of the central robust determinants of economic growth reported by Sala-i-Martin, Doppelhofer and Miller (2003) and project the annual growth rates Africa would have enjoyed if these key determinants had taken OECD rather than African values. Expensive investment goods, low levels of education, poor health, adverse geography, closed economies, too much public expenditure and too many military conflicts are seen as key explanations of the economic tragedy.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:684
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    1. Ahluwalia, Montek S. & Carter, Nicholas G. & Chenery, Hollis B., 1979. "Growth and poverty in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 299-341, August.
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    4. William Easterly, 2002. "The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262550423.
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    6. 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.
    7. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav & van de Walle, Dominique, 1991. "Quantifying Absolute Poverty in the Developing World," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 37(4), pages 345-361, December.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Africa; determinants of growth; economic developement;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O0 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - General
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O5 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies

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