Economic Geography and Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa

42 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2008

See all articles by Erik Maarten Bosker

Erik Maarten Bosker

University of Groningen; Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Department of Economics

Harry Garretsen

Utrecht University - School of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Radboud University Nijmegen - Department of Economics

Date Written: December 2008

Abstract

The physical or absolute geography of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is often blamed for its poor economic performance. A country's location however not only determines its absolute geography, it also pins down its relative position on the globe vis-a-vis other countries. This paper assesses the importance of relative geography, and access to foreign markets in particular, in explaining the substantial income differences between SSA countries. We base our empirical analysis on a new economic geography model. We first construct a measure of each SSA country's market access based on bilateral trade flows and then assess the relevance of market access for economic development. In doing so, we explicitly distinguish between the importance of access to other SSA markets and to the rest of world respectively. We find that market access, and notably intra-SSA market access, has a significant positive effect on GDP per capita. This indicates that improving SSA market access (e.g. by investing in intra-SSA infrastructure or through increased SSA integration) will have substantial positive effects on its future economic development.

Keywords: Sub Saharan Africa, economic development, economic geography, market access

JEL Classification: O10, O19, O55, F1

Suggested Citation

Bosker, Erik Maarten and Garretsen, Harry, Economic Geography and Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa (December 2008). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 2490, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1314711

Erik Maarten Bosker (Contact Author)

University of Groningen ( email )

P.O. Box 800
9700 AH Groningen, Groningen 9700 AV
Netherlands

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Harry Garretsen

Utrecht University - School of Economics ( email )

Kriekenpitplein 21-22
Adam Smith Building
Utrecht, 3584 EC
Netherlands
+31 0 30 253 9810 (Phone)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.cesifo.de

Radboud University Nijmegen - Department of Economics ( email )

Nijmegen, 6500 HK
Netherlands
+31 24 361 5889 (Phone)
+31 24 361 1846 (Fax)

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