Both sides of the institutions and growth debate have resorted largely to microeconometric techniques in testing hypotheses. In this paper, I build a panel structural vector autoregression (SVAR) model for a short panel of 119 countries over 10 years and find support for the institutions hypothesis. Controlling for individual fixed effects, I find that exogenous shocks to a proxy for institutional quality have a positive and statistically significant effect on GDP per capita. On average, a 1 percent shock in institutional quality leads to a peak 1.7 percent increase in GDP per capita after six years. Results are robust to using a different proxy for institutional quality. There are different dynamics for advanced economies and developing countries. This suggests diminishing returns to institutional quality improvements.
Mr. Francois Boutin-Dufresne, Santiago Peña, Mr. Oral Williams, and Mr. Tomasz A. Zawisza
This paper examines the determinants of net interest margins in four regional blocks in Sub-Saharan Africa and one comparator block in the Eastern Caribbean. Using bank-level data, we find that countries with a high level of operating costs, a high ratio of equity to total assets and high treasury bill interest rates have higher net interest margins. Moreover, high operating costs are associated with low measures of institutional quality and a small size of bank operations. We find support for the view that market structure is also partly responsible for high net interest margins in Sub-Saharan Africa. If interpreted causally, high operating costs and a high ratio of equity to total assets and, indirectly, institutional factors such as the rule of law, are the most important factors in accounting for high interest margins in the East African Community, relative to other regions.
Ms. Catherine McAuliffe, Ms. Sweta Chaman Saxena, and Mr. Masafumi Yabara
The East African Community (EAC) has been among the fastest growing regions in sub-Saharan Africa in the past decade or so. Nonetheless, the recent growth path will not be enough to achieve middle-income status and substantial poverty reduction by the end of the decade—the ambition of most countries in the region. This paper builds on methodologies established in the growth literature to identify a group of countries that achieved growth accelerations and sustained growth to use as benchmarks to evaluate the prospects, and potential constraints, for EAC countries to translate their recent growth upturn into sustained high growth. We find that EAC countries compare favorably to the group of sustained growth countries—macroeconomic and government stability, favorable business climate, and strong institutions—but important differences remain. EAC countries have a smaller share of exports, lower degree of financial deepening, lower levels of domestic savings, higher reliance on donor aid, and limited physical infrastructure and human capital. Policy choices to address some of these shortcomings could make a difference in whether the EAC follows the path of sustained growth or follows other countries where growth upturns later fizzled out.
This paper seeks to quantify existing financial barriers among East African Community (EAC) member countries based on analysis of each member country’s foreign exchange market. The primary contribution of this paper is the generation of an aggregate measure of financial barriers for the three relatively more advanced members (Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania) using forward foreign exchange and interbank interest rate data. Its empirical results, which are corroborated by other evidence such as the levels of development of the financial markets and restrictions on capital flows, suggest that Kenya is the EAC’s most financially open country, followed by Uganda, and then Tanzania. The fact that the three countries exhibit different degrees of financial openness suggests that financial integration in the EAC region has a way to go.
Over the last thirty years Burundi's low economic growth has led to a significant decline in per capita GDP. The purpose of this paper is to shed light on supply-side constraints that prevented Burundi's economy from growing faster. Lack of investment, civil conflict, economic inefficiencies, state intervention in the economy, and regulatory restrictions explain a large part of the weak growth performance for the last thirty years.
This paper contributes to the existing empirical literature on the principal determinants of tax revenue performance across developing countries by using a broad dataset and accounting for some econometric issues that were previously ignored. The results confirm that structural factors such as per capita GDP, agriculture share in GDP, trade openness and foreign aid significantly affect revenue performance of an economy. Other factors include corruption, political stability, share of direct and indirect taxes etc. The paper also makes use of a revenue performance index, and finds that while several Sub Saharan African countries are performing well above their potential, some Latin American economies fall short of their revenue potential.
The First Millennium Development Goal (MDG#1) is to cut the fraction of global population living on less than one dollar per day in half, by 2015. Foreign aid financed investments may contribute to the attainment of this goal. But how much can aid be reasonably expected to accomplish? A widespread calibration approach to answering this question is to employ the so-called development planning technique, which has the Harrod-Domar growth model at its base. Two particularly problematic assumptions in this sort of analysis are the absence of diminishing returns to capital input and an infinite speed of adjustment to steady state after a shock to the economy. We remove both of these assumptions by employing a Solow model as an organizing framework for an otherwise similar analysis. We find that in order to successfully meet the MDG#1 in the context of the currently proposed aid flows, these flows will have to be accompanied by either an acceleration in the underlying productivity growth rate or a major boost to domestic savings and investment in sub-Saharan Africa. In the absence of such changes in the economic environment, the MDG#1 is unlikely to be reached.
Mr. Dhaneshwar Ghura, Mr. Anupam Basu, and Mr. Anthony E Calamitsis
This paper analyzes the factors affecting economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa, using data for 1981–97. The results indicate that per capita real GDP growth is positively influenced by economic policies that raise the ratio of private investment to GDP, promote human capital development, lower the ratio of the budget deficit to GDP, safeguard external competitiveness, and stimulate export volume growth. The favorable evolution of these variables played an important role in the region’s apparent postreform recovery of 1995–97. The paper also discusses a policy framework to promote sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty in sub-Saharan Africa
In a case study of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda, this paper finds that bilateral real exchange rates revert to a long-term equilibrium in line with purchasing power parities, implying that these countries constitute an integrated trading zone, their markets are interdependent and arbitrage works efficiently, and intraregional competitiveness is preserved. These findings are partly explained by the flexibility of nominal exchange rates and prices and the absence of long-term productivity differences among these countries. To strengthen market integration, foster private sector development, and enhance growth prospects, the paper emphasizes the importance of increased trade, competitive labor markets, flexible exchange rates, and convergence of macroeconomic and structural policies.
Ferdinand Bakoup, Mr. Abdelrahmi Bessaha, and Mr. Luca Errico
This compilation of summaries of Working Papers released during January-June 1995 is being issued as a part of the Working Paper series. It is designed to provide the reader with an overview of the research work performed by the staff during the period. Authors of Working Papers are normally staff members of the Fund or consultants, although on occasion outside authors may collaborate with a staff member in writing a paper. The views expressed in the Working Papers or their summaries are, however, those of the authors and should not necessarily be interpreted as representing the views of the Fund. Copies of individual Working Papers and information on subscriptions to the annual series of Working Papers may be obtained from IMF Publication Services, International Monetary Fund, 700 19th Street, Washington, D.C. 20431. Telephone: (202) 623-7430 Telefax: (202) 623-7201.