Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions

Posted: 18 May 1998

See all articles by William Easterly

William Easterly

New York University - Department of Economics

Ross Levine

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Abstract

Explaining cross-country differences in growth rates requires not only an understanding of the link between growth and public policies, but also an understanding of why countries choose different public policies. This paper shows that ethnic diversity helps explain cross-country differences in public policies and other economic indicators. In the case of Sub-Saharan Africa, economic growth is associated with low schooling, political instability, underdeveloped financial systems, distorted foreign exchange markets, high government deficits, and insufficient infrastructure. Africa's high ethnic fragmentation explains a significant part of most of these characteristics.

JEL Classification: O5, O55

Suggested Citation

Easterly, William and Levine, Ross Eric, Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions. Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 112, Issue 4, November 1997. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=88828

William Easterly (Contact Author)

New York University - Department of Economics ( email )

269 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10003
United States

Ross Eric Levine

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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