Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Ratio Working Papers,
The Ratio Institute

No 108: Social Capital as a Determinant of Economic Growth in Africa

Morten Jerven ()
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Morten Jerven: London School of Economics

Abstract: This paper reviews the methodology and evidence of recent regression literature attributing the African growth shortfall to lack of social capital. It finds that the literature is not able to account for the actual economic growth experience, only in a significantly reformulated and misleading way. The paper considers how social capital is defined and which proxies are used in the literature, and notes considerable theoretical and empirical inconsistency. In conclusion the paper supports the contention that social capital is best understood as an outcome, and not a cause of growth. At the present state of the literature explaining economic growth the use of social capital as a determinant. has not been empirically useful nor analytically coherent.

Keywords: Social Capital; Africa; Economic Growth

JEL-codes: N17; O47; Z13

29 pages, November 16, 2006

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