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Abstract

The paper focuses on economic and political change in 46 African countries, 1975-1991. Findings include: 1. That while growth rates in Africa have been low, there has been substantial cross-national variation as well as variation over time. 2. That political reforms in Africa can be decomposed into patterns of incremental but steady change, most of which takes place at the lower levels of political accountability, and discontinuous and abrupt political changes, most of which take place at higher levels. 3. That nature of political institutions in Africa appears to bear a systematic relationship with the rate of economic growth. a. Overall, nations which rank one level higher in their level of political accountability appear to possess a 0.6 percentage point higher average rate of growth. In a continent of 2.0 percent or less growth rates, 0.6 percent represents a large number. b. Differences at low levels of the political scale (see below) appear to be positively associated with' subsequent rates of economic growth to a higher degree than do differences at higher levels. 4. That the results must be treated as highly preliminary and suggestive only of the fact that further work on political economy of growth in Africa should be undertaken.

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