The Journal of African Economies has a special issue this month on the topic of institutions and African economies. In my Ph.D. development class I have a section on African economic development, so I am eager to check these out and see if there are any I should add to the syllabus.
All of the articles look promising, but here are the two I find most interesting ex ante:
“The New Institutionalism and Africa” by Robert H. Bates & Anke Hoeffler
After briefly reviewing the new institutionalism, this article uses the history of political reform in Africa to test its key tenet: that power, if properly organised, is a productive resource. It does so by exploring the relationship between changes in political institutions and changes in economic performance, both at the macro- and the micro level. The evidence indicates that political reform (Granger) causes increases in GDP per capita in the African subset of global data. And, at the micro level, it demonstrates that changes in national political institutions in Africa strongly relate to changes in total factor productivity in agriculture.
“Growth of African Economies: Productivity, Policy Syndromes and the Importance of Institutions” by Augustin Kwasi Fosu
Recent evidence from an exhaustive political-economy study of growth of African economies—the Growth Project of the African Economic Research Consortium—suggests that ‘policy syndromes’ have substantially contributed to the generally poor growth in Sub-Saharan Africa during post-independence. The current article employs the unique data and insights generated by the Growth Project to further explore the importance of a ‘syndrome-free’ (SF) regime for growth in the region by examining: (i) the channels via which SF affects growth: total factor productivity versus factors of production and (ii) the role of institutions in mediating this impact, with special attention accorded to the efficacy of the restraint on the executive branch of government in mitigating the potentially adverse effect of ethnicity.