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«Published by the Center for African Studies, University of Florida ISSN: 2152-2448 African Studies Quarterly E Staff Elizabeth Beaver Lin Cassidy ...»

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Growth in the size of government, measured as the share of government consumption expenditure in GDP, has been found to be directly associated with a decline in economic growth. Growth in the share of GDP consumed by governments tends to be a drag on growth.

That is, government consumption is a "net tax on society with few corresponding benefits."41 Besides the direct negative impact of government on the economy, growth in government also adversely affects economic growth through an indirect approach. That is, more government lowers savings and investment which in turn retards economic growth.

Other studies also suggest that a larger government size may interfere with efficiency and economic growth. Some of the reasons that have been advanced include: "(i) government operations are often conducted inefficiently, (ii) the regulatory process imposes excessive burdens and costs on the economic system, and (iii) many of government's fiscal and monetary policies tend to distort economic incentives and lower the productivity of the system."42 Additionally, corruption tends to be prevalent in the public sphere. According to the World Bank, "many privatization efforts have been racked by corruption, undermining confidence in both the government and the market economy."43

As Brian JL Berry, Edgar C. Canaling, and D. Michael Ray have noted:

"Centrally directed [economic] systems do not work and cannot compete. They produce only sporadic growth, assure only a low-level equality that is violated by party-membership privilege, and quite demonstrably have been far more destructive of the environment than political and economic systems of any other kind."44 Brian J.L. Berry, et al. recommend that economic statism of central direction would have to be replaced by individual initiatives and the discipline markets in the economic arena, and individual freedoms and democratic institutions in the sphere of politics; private enterprise and competition would have to replace state monopoly and public-sector enterprises.45 Competition is essential, because it encourages efficiency and provides incentives for innovation. As Bruce Bartlett said, "whatever faults it may have, there is no longer any doubt that free-market capitalism has the greatest capacity to produce goods and services of any economic system ever devised."46 According to Graeme Hodge, who has conducted an international review of privatization, "this changed intellectual climate has also been further bolstered by the failure of centrally planned economies and the relative success of Western capitalist democracies."47 Little wonder, then, that market systems are triumphing across the globe!

With growth in the size of the public sector being associated with a slowdown in economic growth, the traditional emphasis of African countries on government as the instrument of development needs to be reexamined. For example, the World Bank compared economic performance of developing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia.48 The Bank found

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that in 1960 per capita incomes in the Asian countries were only slightly higher than those in Africa, while consumption expenditures of African governments were higher than those of the Asian governments. However, by the 1990s, incomes in East Asia were more than five times those in Africa, while the government size in Africa had grown to one-and-a-half times that in East Asia.

Reducing the size of the public sector is seen therefore as essential to lower inflation and to allow for new domestic and foreign investments. As stated by the National Center for Policy Analysis, "Privatizations have a particularly strong influence over decisions to invest, and each dollar of privatization revenue generates an extra 38 cents in new investment with financial and infrastructure privatizations having the most positive effect on other foreign direct investment."49 Thus, a policy based on a minimal role of government in economic activity may be the best route towards economic growth and prosperity in Africa. The need for such an institutional reform is of high urgency.

It is therefore urgently necessary to critically review and reconsider the traditional emphasis on government as the major source of employment and on State monopoly and control over productive assets and a wide range of economic activity. To translate this awareness into policy constitutes one of the major political-economic challenges facing SubSaharan African countries in the twenty-first century.

Tables Table 1. External Debt for Sub-Saharan Africa 1980 1995

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Source: World Bank, World Development Report 1997: The State in a Changing World.

Washington, D.C., 1997, p. 247.

Table 2. Privatization Activity in Sub-Saharan Africa by Period and Economic Sector 1994-98

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1994 352 11.2 1995 485 15.5 1996 422 13.5 1997 240 7.6 1998 53 1.7

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Source: The World Bank Group, The World Bank Group-Country Data: African Development Indicators. http://www.worldbank.org/data/countrydata/adi/adi.html

–  –  –

Source: Jean-Louis Sarbib. "Privatization in Africa: Present and Future Trends." The World Bank Group. Regions: Sub-Saharan Africa, Abidjan, May 21, 1997.

http://www.worldbank.org/html/extdr/offrep/afr/sarbspsp2.htm

–  –  –





Notes 1. "Introduction to Macroeconomics in the Global Economy.

Introduction: Structural Adjustment Programs. What is Economics? Definition. Scarcity and..."

URL:www.harper.cc.il.us/mhealy/eco212/lecture...intro/intro.htm Last modified on: 25 June 1998 in English.

2. Campo-Flores, Filemon. "Lessons from Privatization of Argentina's National Telephone Company." Policy Studies Review 13, no. 3/4, 1995, pp. 235-248.

3. Jones, Leroy P. Ingo Vogelsang, and Pankaj Tandon. "Public Enterprise Divestiture." In Gerald M. Meier, ed., Politics and Policy Making in Developing Countries. San Francisco: ICS Press, 1991, pp. 199-226.

4. Goodman, J.B. and G.W. Loveman. "Does Privatization Serve the Public Interest?" Harvard Business Review 69(6), 1990, pp. 26-38.

5. Campo-Flores, Filemon. "Lessons from Privatization of Argentina's National Telephone Company," pp. 235-248.

6. Lord, R., ed. Privatization Yearbook 1994. London: Privatization International, 1994.

7. "Selling the State." The Economist. 328(7825), 1993, pp. 18-20.

8. Landau, Daniel. "Government Expenditure and Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Study." Southern Economic Journal 49 (1983), pp.783-792;. "Government Expenditure and Economic Growth in the Developed Countries: 1952-76." Public Choice 47, 1985, pp.

459-477; __ "Government and Economic Growth in the Less Developed Countries: An Empirical Study for 1960-80." Economic Development and Cultural Change 35, 1986, pp.

35-75; Guseh, James S. "Government Size and Economic Growth in Developing:

Countries: A Political-Economy Framework," Journal of Macroeconomics 19(1), 1997, pp.

175-192.

9. Sklar, Richard L. "Beyond Capitalism and Socialism in Africa." In Charles K. Wilber and Kenneth P Jameson, The Political Economy of Development and Underdevelopment 5th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1992, p. 639.

10. Bartlett, Bruce R. "The State and the Market in Sub-Saharan Africa." World Economy 12 September 1989, p. 297.

11. Hyden, Goran. No Shortcuts to Progress: African Development Management in Perspective Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983, p. 96.

12. Ram, Rati. "Government Size and Economic Growth: A New Framework and Some Evidence from Cross-Section and Time-Series Data." American Economic Review 76, 1986, pp. 191-203.

13. Sklar, Richard L. "Beyond Capitalism and Socialism in Africa."

14. Gillis, Malcolm, Dwight H. Perkins, Michael Roemer, and Donald R. Snodgrass, Economics of Development, 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1987, p. 296.

15. Conte, Michael and Ali Darrat "Economic Growth and the Expanding Public Sector."

Review of Economics and Statistics 70 (1989), pp. 322-330.

16. Beeton, D.J., "On the Size of the Public Sector." Applied Economics 19, 1987, pp.927-936.

17. World Bank, World Development Report 1997: The State in a Changing World.

Washington, D.C.: The World Bank, 1997, p. 22.

–  –  –

18. World Bank. Financing Adjustment with Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1986-90.

Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 1986, p. 21.

19. Sarbib, Jean-Louis, "Privatization in Africa: Present and Future Trends." In The World Bank Group, Regions: Sub-Saharan Africa, May 21, 1997.

http://www.worldbank.org/html/extdr/offrep/afr/sarbsp2.htm

20. Ibid.

21. Ibid.

22. The World Bank Group, "Country Data: African Development Indicators." Development.

http://www.worldbank.org/data/countrydata/adi/adi.html

23. Sarbib, Jean-Louis, "Privatization in Africa: Present and Future Trends." In The World Bank Group, Regions: Sub-Saharan Africa, May 21, 1997.

http://www.worldbank.org/html/extdr/offrep/afr/sarbsp2.htm

24. National Center for Policy Analysis, Idea House, "Privatization: Privatization Trends in Developing Countries." 1997. http://www.ncpa.org/pd/private/oct98ab.html

25. Ibid.

26. Sarbib. "Privatization in Africa: Present and Future Trends."

27. Ibid.

28. Hodge, Graeme A., Privatization: An International Review of Performance. Boulder:

Westview Press, 2000.

29. Ibid., p.44.

30. Peters, Guy, American Public Policy, fifth edition. New York: Chatham House Publishers, 1999.

31. Rondinelli, Dennis A. and Max Iacono,"Strategic Management of Privatization: A Framework for Planning and Implementation."Public Administration 98/99, fifth edition.

Guilford, CT.: Dushkin/McGraw Hill, 1998, p. 230.

32. Ibid.

33. Ibid.

34. Barro, Robert. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries." The Quarterly Journal of Economics 106, 1991, pp 407-443; Guseh, James S. "Government Size and Economic Growth in Developing: A Political-Economy Framework," Journal of Macroeconomics 19, no. 1, 1997, pp. 175-192; Landau, Daniel. "Government Expenditure and Economic Growth in the Developed Countries: 1952-76." Public Choice 47 (1985), pp. 459-477;.

"Government and Economic Growth in the Less Developed Countries: An Empirical Study for 1960-80." Economic Development and Cultural Change 35 (1986), pp. 35-75.

35. Grossman, Philip. "Government and Economic Growth: A Non-Linear Relationship."

Public Choice 56 (1988), pp. 193-200; and "Government and Growth: Cross-Sectional Evidence." Public Choice 65 (1990): 217-227; 29). Guseh, James S. "Government Size and Economic Growth: A Political-Economy Framework," Ph.D. diss., The University of Texas at Dallas, 1991. Ram, Rati. "Government Size and Economic Growth: A New Framework and Some Evidence from Cross-Section and Time-Series Data." American Economic Review 76 (1986), pp. 191-203.

36. See note 14.

African Studies Quarterly | Volume 5, Issue 1 | Winter 2001 http://www.africa.ufl.edu/asq/v5/v5i1a3.pdf 46 | Guseh

37. Landau, Daniel. "Government Expenditure and Economic Growth in the Developed Countries: 1952-76." Public Choice 47 (1985), p. 460.

38. Landau, Daniel, "Government Expenditure and Economic Growth in the Developed Countries: 1952-76." Public Choice 47 (1985): 459-477;. "Government and Economic Growth in the Less Developed Countries: An Empirical Study for 1960-80." Economic Development and Cultural Change 35 (1986): 35-75; Rubinson, Richard. "Dependency, Government Revenue, and Economic Growth, 1955-70." Studies in Comparative International Development 12, 1977, pp. 3-28.

39. Ram, Rati. "Government Size and Economic Growth: A New Framework and Some Evidence from Cross-Section and Time-Series Data." American Economic Review 76, 1986, pp. 191-203.

40. Conte, Michael and Ali Darrat. "Economic Growth and the Expanding Public Sector."

41. World Bank. World Development Report 1997: The State in a Changing World.

Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 1997, p. 247.

42. Ram, Rati. "Government Size and Economic Growth."

43. World Bank, World Development Report 1999/2000: Entering the 21st Century. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000, p.17.

44. Berry, Brian J.L., Edgar C. Conkling and D. Michael Ray. The Global Economy: Resource Use, Locational Choice, and International Trade. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1993, p. 2.

45. Ibid., p. 2.

46. Bartlett, Bruce R. "The State and the Market in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Economy 12 September 1989, pp. 293-314.

47. Hodge, Graeme A. Privatization: An International Review of Performance. Boulder:

Westview Press, 2000, p. 7.

48. World Bank. World Development Report 1997: The State in a Changing World.

49. National Center for Policy Analysis, Idea House."Privatization: Privatization Trends in Developing Countries." 1997. http://www.ncpa.org/pd/private/oct98ab.html.

References Aylen, Jonathan. "Privatization in Developing Countries," Lloyds Bank Review 163 (January 1987), pp 19-20.

Bairam, Erkin "Government Size and Economic Growth: The African Experience, 1960-85."

Applied Economics 22 (1990), pp. 1427-1435.

Bartlett, Bruce R. "The State and the Market in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Economy 12 September 1989, pp. 293-314.

Barro, Robert. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries." The Quarterly Journal of Economics 106 (1991), pp. 407-443.

Beeton, D.J. "On the Size of the Public Sector." Applied Economics 19, 1987, pp.927-936.

–  –  –

Berry, Brian J.L., Edgar C. Conkling and D. Michael Ray. The Global Economy: Resource Use, Locational Choice, and International Trade. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1993, p. 2.

Campo-Flores, Filemon. "Lessons from Privatization of Argentina's National Telephone Company." Policy Studies Review 13, no. 3/4, 1995, pp. 235-248.

Conte, Michael and Ali Darrat "Economic Growth and the Expanding Public Sector." Review of Economics and Statistics 70 (1989), pp. 322-330.



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