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.

download in pdf format
   (374 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (374 K) or via email.

This paper was revised on February 26, 2013

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w18683

Published: Harrison, Ann E. & Lin, Justin Yifu & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2014. "Explaining Africa’s (Dis)advantage," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 59-77. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Young w18490 The African Growth Miracle
Limão and Maggi w18703 Uncertainty and Trade Agreements
Chan and Manova w18867 Financial Development and the Choice of Trade Partners
Antràs and Yeaple w18775 Multinational Firms and the Structure of International Trade
Blonigen w18694 Industrial Policy and Downstream Export Performance
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

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

Contact Us