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Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction in Sub-Saharan AfricaCurrent and Emerging Issues$
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Andrew McKay and Erik Thorbecke

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198728450

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198728450.001.0001

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Is Poverty a Binding Constraint on Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa?

Is Poverty a Binding Constraint on Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa?

(p.54) 3 Is Poverty a Binding Constraint on Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa?
Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa

Jean-Yves Duclos

Stephen A. O’Connell

Oxford University Press

Is poverty a binding constraint on economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa? Plausible theories of economy-wide poverty traps abound, but the empirical cross-country growth literature is indecisive on the existence of multiple equilibria and is likely to remain so. This chapter introduces the weaker concept of development traps, defined as intervals of income over which growth is low and conditional convergence fails. The chapter argues that development traps are of broader empirical relevance than poverty traps, both at the aggregate level and for households. The chapter argues that the most promising directions for research involve microeconomic investigations of the effects of poverty on productivity. The chapter reviews the dominant mechanisms through which these effects may emerge and suggests specific avenues for country-based research.

Keywords:   growth, poverty, growth theory, poverty traps, productivity

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