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Economic Development, Social Dislocation and Political Turmoil in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Pooled Time-Series Analysis and a Test of Causality

Description: This study focuses on economic development and political turmoil in post-independence Sub-Saharan Africa. There has been a resurgence of interest in the region following the end of the Cold War. In 1997 U.S. president Bill Clinton took a 12-day tour of the region. In 1999 the U.S. Congress (106th Congress) passed the Growth and Opportunity Act and the Hope for Africa Act, designed to encourage political stability and economic development in the region. Although most Sub-Saharan African countries attained independence from colonial rule in the 1960s, more than 30 years of self-government have brought little economic development and political stability to the region. This study attempts to analyze, theoretically and empirically, the relationship among economic development, social dislocation and political turmoil. Social dislocation, as defined in this study, means "urbanization," and it is used as an exogenous variable to model and test the hypothesized causal relationship between economic development and political turmoil. This study employs pooled cross-sectional time-series and seemingly unrelated regression analyses, as well as Granger-causality, to examine the hypothesized relationships and causality in 24 Sub-Saharan African countries from 1971 to 1995. The results confirm the classical economic development theory's argument that an increase in economic development leads to a decrease in political turmoil. The result of the pooled analysis is confirmed by a SUR analysis on the strength of the relationship at the individual country level in 21 of the 24 countries. However, an indirect positive relationship exist between economic development and political turmoil through social dislocation. At lag periods 1 and 2, I found a causal ordering leading from economic development to political turmoil, indicating a causal relationship from economic development to social dislocation and from social dislocation to political turmoil.
Date: December 2000
Creator: Obi, Zion Ikechukwu