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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:African Economic Growth and the Public Sector: Lessons From Historical Statistics of Cameroon
Author:Manning, Patrick
Periodical:African Economic History
Geographic term:Cameroon
Subjects:economic development
public sector
History and Exploration
Economics and Trade
Abstract:The 1981 World Bank report on African economies (the Berg Report) brought into the open a controversy on the State and economic growth. The implications of the Berg Report led straight to the programmes of privatization and structural adjustment of the 1980s. The statistical basis of the Berg Report was limited to the experience of African economies since 1960. All the subsequent World Bank reports are similarly based on post-1960 statistics. The present author contests the readiness of the World Bank reports to assume that the period before 1960 is lacking in influence on the period since 1960. Instead, he argues that colonial economic statistics can contribute to evaluating modern policy choices. Although there is no doubt that African State sectors were disproportionately large in the 1970s and 1980s, two propositions, widely accepted, remain unproved: 1) that African State sectors expanded rapidly in the 1960s; and 2) that State sectors expanded because of the decisions of African policymakers. A simple graph constructed from a century of historical statistics for Cameroon tends to suggest that each proposition is false. App., notes, ref.