Convergence Theory and Conditional Convergence in Countries of Sub Saharan Africa from 1990-2015

This paper examines the hypothesis of conditional convergence in income per person for Sub Saharan African (SSA) countries over the most recent twenty-five year period, 1990-2015. The income data are in 2011 PPP$ from the Penn-World Table 9.0 (2017). This is the first study to use them in a study of convergence of per capita income in SSA. New conditioning variables are identified and included in the econometric model of growth. This is important because it might suggest where organizations (e.g., the World Bank or aid agencies) should invest to yield the most economic growth. The main results are for the largest 35 SSA countries, and they include: average per capita income in 2011 PPP$ grew at 1.1 percent over the period of 1990-2014; and conditional convergence is occurring, i.e., countries lagging behind in 1990 grew faster over the subsequent 25 years. Countries with a larger share of the labor force in agriculture in 1990 grew slower, as do countries in central Africa. Former British colonies tend to grow faster. External support for new agricultural technology or increased nutrition and food availability that increases agricultural productivity would reduce the share of labor in agriculture and increase future growth performance. Acknowledgement : Authors are Economics Student, Department of Economics, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and C.F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Professor of Economics, Iowa State University. We thank Arun Kandanchatha for helpful comments. We thank the Iowa Agricultural Experiment Station for financial support.

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JEL Codes:
I31; Q18

 Record created 2018-10-02, last modified 2020-10-28

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