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More growth or fewer collapses ? a new look at long run growth in Sub-Saharan Africa

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  • Arbache, Jorge Saba
  • Page, John

Abstract

Low and highly volatile growth define Africa's growth experience. But there is no evidence that growth volatility is associated to long term economic performance. This result may be misleading if it suggests that volatility is not important for economic and social progress. In this paper we use a variant of the method developed by Hausmann, Pritchett, and Rodrik (2005) to identify both growth acceleration and deceleration episodes in Africa between 1975 and 2005. The authors find that Africa has had numerous growth acceleration episodes in the last 30 years, but also nearly a comparable number of growth collapses, offsetting most of the benefits of growth. Had Africa avoided its growth collapses, it would have grown 1.7 percent a year instead of 0.7 percent, and its GDP per capita would have been more than 30 percent higher in 2005. The authors also find that growth accelerations and decelerations have an asymmetric impact on human development outcomes. Finally, our results suggest that it is easier to identify the likely institutional and policy origins of growth decelerations than of growth accelerations.

Suggested Citation

  • Arbache, Jorge Saba & Page, John, 2007. "More growth or fewer collapses ? a new look at long run growth in Sub-Saharan Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4384, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4384
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Wim Naudé, 2010. "Africa And The Global Economic Crisis: A Risk Assessment And Action Guide," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 27, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
    2. Sara Guerschanik Calvo, 2010. "The Global Financial Crisis of 2008-10: A View from the Social Sectors," Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) HDRP-2010-18, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
    3. Mary Hallward-Driemeier & Gita Khun-Jush & Lant Pritchett, 2014. "Deals versus Rules: Policy Implementation Uncertainty and Why Firms Hate It," NBER Chapters,in: African Successes, Volume I: Government and Institutions, pages 215-260 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Pedro Conceição & Sebastian Levine, "undated". "The African Moment: On the Brink of a Development Breakthrough," UNDP Africa Policy Notes 2011-001, United Nations Development Programme, Regional Bureau for Africa.
    5. Caroline Harper & Nicola Jones & Andy McKay, 2010. "Including Children in Policy Responses to Economic Crises," Working papers 1003, UNICEF,Division of Policy and Strategy.
    6. Pritchett, Lant & Sen, Kunal & Kar, Sabyasachi & Raihan, Selim, 2016. "Trillions gained and lost: Estimating the magnitude of growth episodes," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 279-291.
    7. Page, John, 2011. "Should Africa Industrialize?," WIDER Working Paper Series 047, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    8. Grenade, Kari & Pasha, Sukrishnalall, 2012. "Accelerating Guyana’s Growth Momentum," MPRA Paper 41960, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. World Bank, 2009. "Global Economic Prospects 2009 : Commodities at the Crossroads," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2581, June.
    10. repec:unu:wpaper:wp2012-31 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Fabrizio Coricelli & Aikaterini Karadimitropoulou & Miguel A. León-Ledesma, 2012. "A Disaggregate Characterisation of Recessions," Studies in Economics 1209, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    12. Arbache, Jorge Saba & Page, John, 2008. "Hunting for Leopards: Long-Run Country Income Dynamics in Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series 080, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    13. Nicole Alice Sindzingre, 2008. "From Growth to Poverty Reduction: a New Conceptual Framework in Development Economics," Post-Print halshs-00648001, HAL.
    14. Dimitris Christopoulos & Miguel León-Ledesma, 2009. "Efficiency and frontier technology in the aftermath of recessions: international evidence," Studies in Economics 0922, School of Economics, University of Kent.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Governance Indicators; Achieving Shared Growth; Economic Conditions and Volatility; Economic Growth; Nutrition;

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