Economic Transformation in Africa from the Bottom Up: Evidence from Tanzania

48 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2016 Last revised: 16 Jan 2022

See all articles by Xinshen Diao

Xinshen Diao

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Josaphat Kweka

Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF)

Margaret McMillan

Tufts University - Department of Economics; International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Date Written: December 2016

Abstract

At roughly 4% per annum, labor productivity in Tanzania has grown more rapidly over the past 12 years than at any other time in recent history. Employment growth has also been strong keeping up with population growth at roughly 2.5 percent per annum; the bulk of employment growth (90%) has been in the non-agricultural sector. However, the vast majority of this non-agricultural employment growth has occurred in the informal sector. Using Tanzania’s first nationally representative survey of micro, small and medium sized enterprises - we show that firms in the informal sector contributed roughly half a percentage point to economy-wide labor productivity growth in Tanzania between 2002 and 2012. However, virtually all of the labor productivity growth contributed by informal firms came from a small subset of firms we call the in-between firms. We consider attributes of the in-between firms that could be used for targeting financial and business services to firms with the potential to grow. We find two salient characteristics of firms in the in-between sector that might lend themselves to targeting – their owners are more likely to keep written accounts and they are more likely to keep their savings in formal bank accounts.

Suggested Citation

Diao, Xinshen and Kweka, Josaphat and McMillan, Margaret, Economic Transformation in Africa from the Bottom Up: Evidence from Tanzania (December 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22889, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2883919

Xinshen Diao (Contact Author)

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

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Josaphat Kweka

Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) ( email )

Margaret McMillan

Tufts University - Department of Economics ( email )

Medford, MA 02155
United States

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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