IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Technology trap and poverty trap in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Fofack, Hippolyte
Registered author(s):

    Since the industrial revolution, advances in science and technology have continuously accounted for most of the growth and wealth accumulation in leading industrialized economies. In recent years, the contribution of technological progress to growth and welfare improvement has increased even further, especially with the globalization process which has been characterized by exponential growth in exports of manufactured goods. This paper establishes the existence of a technology trap in Sub-Saharan Africa. It shows that the widening income and welfare gap between Sub-Saharan Africa and the rest of world is largely accounted for by the technology trap responsible for the poverty trap. This result is supported by empirical evidence which suggests that if countries in Sub-Saharan Africa were using the same level of technology enjoyed by industrialized countries income levels in Sub-Saharan Africa would be significantly higher. The result is robust, even after controlling for institutional, macroeconomic instability and volatility factors. Consistent with standard one-sector neoclassical growth models, this suggests that uniform convergence to a worldwide technology frontier may lead to income convergence in the spherical space. Overcoming the technology trap in Sub-Saharan Africa may therefore be essential to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and evolving toward global convergence in the process of economic development.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4582.

    in new window

    Date of creation: 01 Mar 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4582
    Contact details of provider: Postal: 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433
    Phone: (202) 477-1234
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Chris Papageorgiou & Fidel Perez-Sebastian, . "Human Capital and Convergence in a Non-Scale R&D Growth Model," Departmental Working Papers 2002-10, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
    2. Shahid Yusuf & Kaoru Nabeshima, 2007. "How Universities Promote Economic Growth," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6631.
    3. Danny Quah, 1996. "Twin Peaks: Growth and Convergence in Models of Distribution Dynamics," CEP Discussion Papers dp0280, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    4. Barro, Robert J, 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S103-26, October.
    5. Chen, Shaohua & Ravallion, Martin, 2004. "How Have the World's Poorest Fared Since the Early 1980s?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3341, The World Bank.
    6. Quah, Danny T, 1997. " Empirics for Growth and Distribution: Stratification, Polarization, and Convergence Clubs," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 27-59, March.
    7. Boyan Jovanovic & Yaw Nyarko, 1994. "Learning By Doing and the Choice of Technology," NBER Working Papers 4739, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Azariadis, Costas & Stachurski, John, 2005. "Poverty Traps," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 5 Elsevier.
    9. Robert E. Lucas, 2009. "Trade and the Diffusion of the Industrial Revolution," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 1-25, January.
    10. Parente, Stephen L & Prescott, Edward C, 1994. "Barriers to Technology Adoption and Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(2), pages 298-321, April.
    11. Kraay, Aart & Raddatz, Claudio, 2007. "Poverty traps, aid, and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 315-347, March.
    12. Yisheng Bu, 2006. "Fixed capital stock depreciation in developing countries: Some evidence from firm level data," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(5), pages 881-901.
    13. Robert G. King & Sergio T. Rebelo, 1989. "Transitional Dynamics and Economic Growth in the Neoclassical Model," NBER Working Papers 3185, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Gittleman, Maury B & Wolff, Edward N, 1995. "R&D Activity and Cross-Country Growth Comparisons," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 189-207, February.
    15. Quah, Danny, 1997. "Empirics for Growth and Distribution: Stratification, Polarization, and Convergence Clubs," CEPR Discussion Papers 1586, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    16. Battese, G E & Coelli, T J, 1995. "A Model for Technical Inefficiency Effects in a Stochastic Frontier Production Function for Panel Data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 325-32.
    17. Sanjeev Gupta & Catherine A. Pattillo & Kevin Joseph Carey, 2005. "Sustaining Growth Accelerations and Pro-Poor Growth in Africa," IMF Working Papers 05/195, International Monetary Fund.
    18. Akyuz, Yilmaz & Gore, Charles, 2001. "African Economic Development in a Comparative Perspective," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(3), pages 265-88, May.
    19. Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2003. "Exporting Raises Productivity in Sub-Saharan African Manufacturing Plants," NBER Working Papers 10020, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. 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 335-76, October.
    21. Quah, Danny T, 1996. "Twin Peaks: Growth and Convergence in Models of Distribution Dynamics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(437), pages 1045-55, July.
    22. Richard R. Nelson & Edmond S. Phelps, 1965. "Investment in Humans, Technological Diffusion and Economic Growth," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 189, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    23. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Bloom, David E & Canning, David & Sevilla, Jaypee, 2003. " Geography and Poverty Traps," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 355-78, December.
    25. Jyotsna Jalan & Martin Ravallion, 1998. "Geographic Poverty Traps?," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 86, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
    26. Yaw Nyarko, 2006. "Economic Development as Problem Solving," 2006 Meeting Papers 893, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    27. Pianta, Mario, 1995. "Technology and Growth in OECD Countries, 1970-1990," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 175-87, February.
    28. Mansfield, Edwin, 1980. "Basic Research and Productivity Increase in Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 863-73, December.
    29. repec:oup:qjecon:v:105:y:1990:i:2:p:501-26 is not listed on IDEAS
    30. repec:oup:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:4:p:1203-50 is not listed on IDEAS
    31. Nigel Pain & Dawn Holland, 1998. "The Diffusion Of Innovations In Central And Eastern Europe: A Study Of The Determinants And Impact O," NIESR Discussion Papers 137, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
    32. Easterlin, Richard A., 1981. "Why Isn't the Whole World Developed?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(01), pages 1-17, March.
    33. Danny Quah, 1996. "Twin peaks : growth and convergence in models of distribution dynamics," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2278, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4582. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.