The Economic Tragedy of the Xxth Century: Growth in Africa

33 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2003 Last revised: 2 Aug 2003

See all articles by Elsa Vila-Artadi

Elsa Vila-Artadi

Harvard University - Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Xavier Sala-i-Martin

Columbia University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics

Date Written: July 2003

Abstract

The dismal growth performance of Africa is the worst economic tragedy of the XXth century. We document the evolution of per capita GDP for the continent as a whole and for subset of countries south of the Sahara desert. We document the worsening of various income inequality indexes and we estimate poverty rates and headcounts. We then analyze some of the central robust determinants of economic growth reported by Sala-i-Martin, Doppelhofer and Miller (2003) and project the annual growth rates Africa would have enjoyed if these key determinants had taken OECD rather than African values. Expensive investment goods, low levels of education, poor health, adverse geography, closed economies, too much public expenditure and too many military conflicts are seen as key explanations of the economic tragedy.

Suggested Citation

Vila-Artadi, Elsa and Sala-i-Martin, Francesc Xavier, The Economic Tragedy of the Xxth Century: Growth in Africa (July 2003). NBER Working Paper No. w9865. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=425601

Elsa Vila-Artadi

Harvard University - Faculty of Arts and Sciences ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Francesc Xavier Sala-i-Martin (Contact Author)

Columbia University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics ( email )

420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-7055 (Phone)

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