Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=304100
 
 

References (82)



 
 

Citations (62)



 


 



An African Success Story: Botswana


Daron Acemoglu


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Simon Johnson


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Entrepreneurship Center; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

James A. Robinson


Harvard University - Department of Government; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

February 2002

CEPR Discussion Paper No. 3219

Abstract:     
Botswana has had the highest rate of per capita growth of any country in the world in the last 35 years. This occurred despite adverse initial conditions, including minimal investment during the colonial period and high inequality. Botswana achieved this rapid development by following orthodox economic policies. How Botswana sustained these policies is a puzzle because typically in Africa, 'good economics' has proved not to be politically feasible. In this Paper we suggest that good policies were chosen in Botswana because good institutions, which we refer to as institutions of private property, were in place. Why did institutions of private property arise in Botswana, but not other African nations? We conjecture that the following factors were important. First, Botswana possessed relatively inclusive pre-colonial institutions, placing constraints on political elites. Second, the effect of British colonialism on Botswana was minimal, and did not destroy these institutions. Third, following independence, maintaining and strengthening institutions of private property were in the economic interests of the elite. Fourth, Botswana is very rich in diamonds, which created enough rents that no group wanted to challenge the status quo at the expense of 'rocking the boat'. Finally, we emphasize that this situation was reinforced by a number of critical decisions made by the post-independence leaders, particularly Presidents Khama and Masire.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 49

Keywords: Development, institutions, Africa, political economy

JEL Classification: H10, O10, O50

working papers series





Date posted: March 14, 2002  

Suggested Citation

Acemoglu, Daron and Johnson, Simon and Robinson, James A., An African Success Story: Botswana (February 2002). CEPR Discussion Paper No. 3219. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=304100

Contact Information

Daron Acemoglu (Contact Author)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )
50 Memorial Drive
Room E52-380b
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-1927 (Phone)
617-253-1330 (Fax)
Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Simon Johnson
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Entrepreneurship Center ( email )
United States
617-253-8412 (Phone)
617-258-6855 (Fax)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
James A. Robinson
Harvard University - Department of Government ( email )
1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-2839 (Phone)
617-495-8292 (Fax)
Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 11,969
Downloads: 151
Download Rank: 3,139
References:  82
Citations:  62

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo3 in 0.859 seconds