Mr. Kevin J Carey, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, and Ms. Catherine A Pattillo
Growth in sub-Saharan Africa has recently shown signs of improvement, but is still short of levels needed to attain the Millennium Development Goals. Economists have placed increasing emphasis on understanding the policies that promote sustained jumps in medium-term growth, and the paper applies this approach to African countries. The evidence presented finds an important growth-supporting role for particular kinds of institutions and policies, but also highlights aspects of growth that are still not well understood. The paper includes policy guidance for ensuring that the poor benefit from growth.
Mr. Brou E Aka, Mr. Bernardin Akitoby, Mr. Amor Tahari, and Mr. Dhaneshwar Ghura
Analysis of 1960-2002 data shows that average real GDP growth in sub-Saharan Africa was low and decelerated continuously before starting to recover in the second part of the 1990s. Growth was driven primarily by factor accumulation with little role for total factor productivity (TFP) growth. The recent pickup in economic growth was accompanied by an increase in TFP growth, namely in the group of countries whose IMF-supported programs were judged to be on track. Average annual growth in the region, at 3½ percent during 1997-2002, is less than half of the estimated growth needed to halve the fraction of population living below $1 per day between 1990 and 2015, one of the Millennium Development Goals.
This paper investigates the channels through which debt affects growth, specifically whether debt affects growth through factor accumulation or total factor productivity growth. It also tests for the presence of nonlinearities in the effects of debt on the different sources of growth. We use a large panel dataset of 61 developing countries over the period 1969-98. Results indicate that the negative impact of high debt on growth operates both through a strong negative effect on physical capital accumulation and on total factor productivity growth. On average, for high-debt countries, doubling debt will reduce output growth by about 1 percentage point and reduce both per capita physical capital and total factor productivity growth by somewhat less than that. In terms of the contributions to growth, approximately one-third of the effect of debt on growth occurs via physical capital accumulation and two-thirds via total factor productivity growth. The results are generally robust to the use of alternative estimators to control (to different extents) for biases associated with unobserved country-specific effects and the endogeneity of several regressors, particularly the debt variables. In particular, the results are shown to be compatible with a simultaneous significant effect of growth on debt ratios, as suggested by Easterly (2001).
A growth accounting exercise is conducted for 88 countries for 1960-94 to examine the source of cross-country differences in total factor productivity (TFP) levels. Two differences distinguish this analysis from that of the related literature. First, the critical technology parameter—the share of physical capital in real output—is econometrically estimated and the usual assumption of identical technology across regions is relaxed. Second, while the few studies on the determinants of cross-country differences in TFP have focused on growth rates of real output this analysis is on levels. Recent theoretical as well as empirical arguments point to the level of TFP as the more relevant variable to explain.