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Download Africa: Why Economists Get It Wrong (African Arguments) by Morten Jerven PDF

By Morten Jerven

No longer goodbye in the past, Africa used to be being defined because the hopeless continent. lately, notwithstanding, speak has became to Africa emerging, with enthusiastic voices exclaiming the potential of financial development throughout a lot of its international locations. What, then, is the reality in the back of Africa’s development, or loss of it?

In this provocative publication, Morten Jerven essentially reframes the talk, tough mainstream bills of African financial historical past. when for the previous 20 years specialists have enthusiastic about explaining why there was a ‘chronic failure of growth’ in Africa, Jerven indicates that the majority African economies were turning out to be at a speedy velocity because the mid nineties. furthermore, African economies grew swiftly within the fifties, the sixties, or even into the seventies. hence, African states have been brushed aside as incapable of improvement established principally on observations made in the course of the Eighties and early Nineteen Nineties. the end result has been faulty research, and few functional classes learned.

This is a necessary account of the genuine impression fiscal development has had on Africa, and what it skill for the continent’s destiny.

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Additional resources for Africa: Why Economists Get It Wrong (African Arguments)

Example text

Perhaps the most frequently overlooked problem is missing data – or things that are uncounted or unrecorded. Generally, there are more data about what crosses international borders, more records of goods that were marketed through official channels, and better coverage of largescale economic activities in urban centers, while datasets sometimes contain no information at all about domestic exchange, household consumption or small-scale economic activities in rural areas. The history of colonial Africa, for instance, usually gives undue space, if not undue emphasis, to the role of colonial administrators because written sources and quantitative evidence about that topic is available.

What it did not do was explain how African economies could grow and then decline. Not only was the analytical framework for conducting comparisons flawed, but the variables that were supposed to capture differences in policies and institutions had a very specific shortcoming. Either their average values were inflated by the economic shocks of the late 1970s and early 1980s or the observations were made in the 1980s, after the 32 economic shocks had already occurred. It is highly misleading to use these post-shock phenomena that are essentially effects of a growth failure as causes that explain economic performance over the entire period of from 1960 to 1990.

20 This article grouped the most significant factors in African growth regressions into six categories: lack of social capital, lack of openness to trade, deficient public services, geography and risk, lack of financial depth, and high aid dependency. I call this method of investigation a ‘subtraction approach’, where the characteristics of a developed country are compared with the characteristics of an underdeveloped country. The differences between them are taken to explain slow growth. The list of factors above fits this pattern: One the lack of growth is explained by the lack of something else.

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