Geography, Structural Change and Economic Development

Geography, Structural Change and Economic Development

Theory and Empirics

Edited by Neri Salvadori, Pasquale Commendatore and Massimo Tamberi

The authors in this book regard the process of economic expansion as a non-homogeneous and multifaceted phenomenon which has deeply affected human welfare, and cultural, social and political change. The book is a bridge between the theorists (Rosenstein-Rodan, Lewis, Myrdal, and Hirschmann) who in the post-war period analyzed regional inequalities, structural change and dualism, and the modern literature on economic growth. The latter has emphasized the existence of multiple equilibria, bifurcations and various types of dynamic complexity, and clarified the conditions for the emergence of phenomena such as cumulative causation, path dependence and hysteresis. These are the typical ingredients of structural change, economic development or underdevelopment.

Chapter 3: Natural Resources and Social Conflict: An Explanation of Sub-Saharan Countries’

Davide Fiaschi

Subjects: economics and finance, radical and feminist economics


stagnation * Davide Fiaschi 3.1. INTRODUCTION Sub-Saharan countries have shown substantial stagnation in their per capita GDP in the last 30 years (see Durlauf et al., 2005). Collier and Gunning (1999) argue that sub-Saharan countries have particular characteristics with respect to other developing countries, such as widespread corruption, strong social fractionalization and a large number of civil wars. They also claim that the divergence between the development paths of sub-Saharan countries and those of other developing countries started at the beginning of the 1970s. The colonial past has undoubtedly played a contributory role in the weakness of social and political institutions of sub-Saharan countries. However, other aspects appear to characterize these countries, such as low investment rates, low levels of human capital and (relative) abundance of natural resources (see Collier and Gunning, 1999). As regards the endowment of natural resources, Auty (2001) discusses how countries whose output is concentrated in primary sectors show low growth rates (see also Sachs and Warner, 2001; Mehlum et al., 2006; and Humphreys et al., 2007). The literature has proposed many complementary explanations of the phenomenon, denoted as the curse of natural resources, among which: i) strong exports of natural resources change the terms of trade, crowding out the traded-manufacturing activities (Sachs and Warner, 2001); ii) the rents from natural resources distort the allocation of investments (for example less incentive to invest in education, see Gylfason, 2001); and iii) the rents from natural resources encourage strong rent-seeking activities and/or social conflict in countries with weak institutions...

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