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Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1885–2008: Evidence from eight countries

Stephen Broadberry () and Leigh Gardner

Explorations in Economic History, 2022, vol. 83, issue C

Abstract: Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has been absent from recent debates about comparative long-run growth owing to the lack of data on aggregate economic performance before 1950. This paper provides estimates of GDP per capita on an annual basis for eight Anglophone African economies for the period since 1885, raising new questions about previous characterizations of the region's economic performance. The new data show that many of these economies had levels of per capita income which were above subsistence by the early twentieth century, on a par with the largest economies in Asia until the 1980s. However, overall improvements in GDP per capita were limited by episodes of negative growth or “shrinking”, the scale and scope of which can be measured through annual data.

Keywords: GDP per capita; Economic growth; Africa; Shrinking (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E01 N37 O10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:exehis:v:83:y:2022:i:c:s0014498321000462

DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2021.101424

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