NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Explaining Africa's (Dis)advantage

Ann E. Harrison, Justin Yifu Lin, L. Colin Xu

NBER Working Paper No. 18683
Issued in January 2013
NBER Program(s):   EEE   ITI

Africa’s economic performance has been widely viewed with pessimism. In this paper, we use firm-level data for around 80 countries to examine formal firm performance. Without controls, manufacturing African firms perform significantly worse than firms in other regions. They have lower productivity levels and growth rates, export less, and have lower investment rates. Once we control for geography, political competition and the business environment, formal African firms lead in productivity levels and growth. Africa’s conditional advantage is higher in low-tech than in high-tech manufacturing, and exists in manufacturing but not in services. The key factors explaining Africa’s disadvantage at the firm level are lack of infrastructure, access to finance, and political competition.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Information about Free Papers

You should expect a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

This paper was revised on February 26, 2013

Acknowledgments

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w18683

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Young w18490 The African Growth Miracle
Limao and Maggi w18703 Uncertainty and Trade Agreements
Blonigen w18694 Industrial Policy and Downstream Export Performance
Acemoglu, Reed, and Robinson w18691 Chiefs: Elite Control of Civil Society and Economic Development in Sierra Leone
Comin, Dmitriev, and Rossi-Hansberg w18534 The Spatial Diffusion of Technology
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us