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African Growth Recurring : An Economic History Perspective on African Growth Episodes, 1690-2010

Jerven, Morten LU (2010) In Economic History of Developing Regions 25(2). p.127-154
Abstract
Africa has not suffered a chronic failure of growth. In fact, Africa has experienced recurring periods of growth, and this paper reviews some of these growth “spurts” to substantiate that claim. The immediate cause of low income in Africa is that these “spurts” have always been followed by a ‘‘bust’’. This is a significant reorientation of the central research question – away from a search for the root causes of Africa's underdevelopment and towards explaining the causes and effects of growth and decline. The growth spurts are approached as local responses to a global demand for African produced commodities. In this paper, I shall argue that these supply responses involved more than a reallocation of land and labour; they entailed... (More)
Africa has not suffered a chronic failure of growth. In fact, Africa has experienced recurring periods of growth, and this paper reviews some of these growth “spurts” to substantiate that claim. The immediate cause of low income in Africa is that these “spurts” have always been followed by a ‘‘bust’’. This is a significant reorientation of the central research question – away from a search for the root causes of Africa's underdevelopment and towards explaining the causes and effects of growth and decline. The growth spurts are approached as local responses to a global demand for African produced commodities. In this paper, I shall argue that these supply responses involved more than a reallocation of land and labour; they entailed investment and required institutional change. It is precisely because these periods of rapid economic change and accumulation caused significant qualitative changes in how society and the economy were organized that they cannot be ignored – as they have tended to be in the search for a root cause of Africa's chronic failure to achieve growth. (Less)
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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
growth failure, Africa, institutions, geography, Dahomey, Ghana, Zambia, Botswana, N17
in
Economic History of Developing Regions
volume
25
issue
2
pages
28 pages
publisher
Taylor & Francis
ISSN
2078-0397
DOI
10.1080/20780389.2010.527685
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
e7694126-f12f-4776-b930-7088dc28478b
date added to LUP
2017-06-16 04:36:33
date last changed
2018-05-29 12:15:59
@article{e7694126-f12f-4776-b930-7088dc28478b,
  abstract     = {Africa has not suffered a chronic failure of growth. In fact, Africa has experienced recurring periods of growth, and this paper reviews some of these growth “spurts” to substantiate that claim. The immediate cause of low income in Africa is that these “spurts” have always been followed by a ‘‘bust’’. This is a significant reorientation of the central research question – away from a search for the root causes of Africa's underdevelopment and towards explaining the causes and effects of growth and decline. The growth spurts are approached as local responses to a global demand for African produced commodities. In this paper, I shall argue that these supply responses involved more than a reallocation of land and labour; they entailed investment and required institutional change. It is precisely because these periods of rapid economic change and accumulation caused significant qualitative changes in how society and the economy were organized that they cannot be ignored – as they have tended to be in the search for a root cause of Africa's chronic failure to achieve growth.},
  author       = {Jerven, Morten},
  issn         = {2078-0397},
  keyword      = {growth failure,Africa,institutions,geography,Dahomey,Ghana,Zambia,Botswana,N17},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {127--154},
  publisher    = {Taylor & Francis},
  series       = {Economic History of Developing Regions},
  title        = {African Growth Recurring : An Economic History Perspective on African Growth Episodes, 1690-2010},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/20780389.2010.527685},
  volume       = {25},
  year         = {2010},
}