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Metals or Management? Explaining Africa's Recent Economic Growth Spurt


Laura Nyantung Beny


University of Michigan Law School

Lisa D. Cook


Michigan State University - Department of Economics and James Madison College

January 20, 2009

American Economic Review, Forthcoming
U of Michigan Public Law Working Paper No. 136

Abstract:     
This article seeks to explain Africa's current "period of unparalleled economic success," following decades of economic stagnation. Using newly available data, we investigate whether international commodity price increases (our "metals" hypothesis) or policy reforms (our "management" hypothesis) have driven Africa's recent reversal of economic fortune. Using cross-country growth analysis, we find that both "metals" and "management" have played a role. Because commodity booms are typically followed by commodity busts, better economic management may be critical for sustaining Africa's economic gains, particularly in the face of the present global economic crisis. We thus invite a reexamination of our "management" and "metals" hypotheses after a few years, when new data are available and the crisis has evolved.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 13

Keywords: Africa, economic growth, economic policy reform, commodities trade, Dutch disease, cross country growth

JEL Classification: A10, E60, F00, F30, O11, O13, O20, O40, O55

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Date posted: January 21, 2009 ; Last revised: January 25, 2009

Suggested Citation

Beny, Laura Nyantung and Cook, Lisa D., Metals or Management? Explaining Africa's Recent Economic Growth Spurt (January 20, 2009). American Economic Review, Forthcoming; U of Michigan Public Law Working Paper No. 136. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1330474

Contact Information

Laura Nyantung Beny
University of Michigan Law School ( email )
625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States
Lisa D. Cook (Contact Author)
Michigan State University - Department of Economics and James Madison College ( email )
South Case Hall
East Lansing, MI 48825-1205
United States
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