nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2008‒06‒27
five papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
University Amedeo Avogadro

  1. Lessons from the South African Electricity Crisis By Kate Bayliss
  2. Developing a Contextually Relevant Concept of Regional Hegemony: The Case of South Africa, Zimbabwe and “Quiet Diplomacy” By Miriam Prys
  3. Determinants of Institutional Quality in Sub-Saharan African Countries By Siba, Eyerusalem G.
  4. Underdevelopment and Democratization in Africa By Manuel Couret Branco
  5. The effect of availability and distance to school on children's time allocation in Ghana and Guatemala. By D. Vuri

  1. By: Kate Bayliss (Independent Consultant, Brighton, United Kingdom)
    Abstract: South Africa is suffering an electricity crisis. Blackouts have been widespread and the impact disastrous. Electricity supply is predicted to constrain growth for at least the next five years. How could this have occurred when until recently South Africa had a surplus of cheap electricity? This One Pager explores the causes. (...)
    Keywords: Lessons from the South African Electricity Crisis
    Date: 2008–06
  2. By: Miriam Prys (University of Oxford)
    Abstract: South Africa’s “quiet diplomacy” has been often used to reject the notion of South African leadership or regional hegemony in southern Africa. This article finds that this evaluation is founded on a misguided understanding of regional hegemony, which is based on conventional hegemony theories that are mostly derived from the global role of the United States after World War II. Alternatively, this article uses a concept of hegemony that, for example, takes into account the “regionality” of South Africa’s hegemony, which both allows external actors to impact on regional relations and allows South Africa to pursue its foreign policy goals on the global level of international politics. This concept helps to systemically analyze South Africa's foreign policy in the Zimbabwean crisis and to better integrate this policy into the broader framework of its regional and global ambitions.
    Keywords: regional powers, hegemony, South Africa, Zimbabwe, quiet diplomacy
    Date: 2008–05
  3. By: Siba, Eyerusalem G. (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: In this study, a number of factors have been considered as potential determinants of institutional quality in Sub- Saharan African countries. The empirical analysis has shown that historical factors such as state legitimacy determine the quality of current institutions in the region. Foreign aid dependence is found to erode quality of governance as measured by rule of law. Variability of aid is found to counterbalance the destructive nature of high level of aid dependence. However, the last result is not retained in the robust regression analysis performed. Countries with strong political constraints on the ruling elites, proxied by checks and balances between executive and legislative branches of governments, and press freedom, are found to have better quality of institutions. Large countries and those closer to equator are disadvantaged in their success of building better quality institutions. Unlike the popular discussions, ethnic fractionalization and identity of last coloniser do not explain variations in institutional quality in the region. The paper also devotes a section for a case study of Ethiopian institutional development to complement the cross country analysis by adding cultural, historical and political specificities.
    Keywords: Institutional Quality; Rule of Law; Foreign Aid; Colonialism; Ethnic Fractionalization; Sub-Saharan Africa
    JEL: F35 N40 N47 P48
    Date: 2008–06–19
  4. By: Manuel Couret Branco (Universidade de Évora)
    Abstract: In the middle of the twentieth century S.M. Lipset sustained that various indicators of economic development were higher in democratic countries than in authoritarian ones, suggesting that development was as a condition to democracy. More recently, though, several authors have shown that there is no strong empirical evidence confirming development as a condition to democracy, suggesting in turn that the economic is not as important in democratization as it seemed in the 1950s. Despite this fact, there are some clues that indicate that economic factors do play an important role in democratization, but in a way different than that proposed by Lipset. In this article a revision of literature on some economic obstacles to democratization in Africa is carried out, its main conclusion being that underdevelopment decisively contributes to the difficulties many African countries experience in democratizing. One should not mistake underdevelopment with un-development though, the latter being the mere absence or delay in development and the former a specific supporting role given to developing countries within the global development process. The article’s general conclusion, therefore, is that democratic development is not a question of getting richer, i.e. intensifying the development model, as much as of reforming this same model.
    Keywords: Africa, Democracy, Development, Underdevelopment, Inequalities, Impoverishment.
    JEL: A10 F02 F50 F54 H11 O10 O17
    Date: 2008
  5. By: D. Vuri
    Abstract: In this paper we present evidence on the impact of distance to school and school availability on households’ decisions concerning primary age children’s time allocation between work, schooling and household chores activities using data from the Ghana Living Standard Survey 1998-99 (GLSS) and the Guatemalan Living Standards Measurement Survey 2000 (ENCOVI). Overall, our results indicate that the increased and eased access to school has a well-defined impact on children’s time use, with both similarities and striking dissimilarities between the chosen countries. In particular, in Ghana the availability and the travel distance to schools (both primary and middle) in the community influence children’s work in both economic activities and household chores and children’s school attendance. The longer the travel time to school the more difficult it is for children to reconcile work and school attendance. In Guatemala, secondary school access constraints have almost no effect on children’s time allocation. In addition, reducing the cost of access to primary education has an effect only on children’s school attendance but it reduces neither child work nor time spent in household chores. Our results are robust to control for the endogeneity of school location and per capita expenditures.
    Date: 2008–01

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