Sample Economics Paper on Contrasting the Growth and development experience of China and sub-Saharan Africa since 1980


Economic growth refers to the level of increase in goods and services produced per capita in a country over a specified period. There is a close relationship between development and economic growth with different factors spurring economic growth. Over the last few decades, there has been contrasting economic growth and development between China and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) (Hall & Jones, 1999). The difference between the two regions is due to differences in institutions employed by China and Sub-Sharan Africa. The contrasting situation demonstrates the critical role played by strong institutions in promoting economic growth and development. Since the 1980, there has been contrasting growth and development between China and Sub-Saharan Africa with China having a higher Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Net Domestic Product (NDP), Per Capita income and rate of economic growth compared to countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The GDP, growth rate and per capita income of China is $13.1 trillion, 6.6 per cent and $16,760 while that of Africa is $2.19 trillion, 3.7% and $1720 respectively (Acemoglu, 2001. The patterns of growth between the two regions demonstrate the role of institutions in promoting economic growth and development.

China economic growth took a turning point in 1980, four years after the death of Mao Zedong. He was the head of communist party and led the civil war whereby the communists defeated the nationalists. Mao isolated China from the rest of the world and adopted a collective way of life that was the starting point of collectivism spurred economic growth. Collectivism meant that the government assigned jobs to people with nobody owning any private property. It also meant that people worked together following a five-year plan developed by Mao that focused on industrialization. The soviet style adopted employed collectiveness in agriculture, industrialization and political centralization (Hall & Jones, 1999). Africa on the other had poor institutions implemented by authoritarian and power-hungry leaders that exploited their masses with the aim of accumulating wealth. The poor institutions led to stunted growth within Sub-Saharan Africa with China’s growth skyrocketing. The paper aims at employing institutional theory to explain the contrasting growth and development experience of China and sub-Saharan Africa since 1980. The first section outlines what institutions mean and explains the basis and nuances of institutional theory and the way it relates to explaining growth and development. The section also evaluates the importance of institutions in the growth and development. The third section explains the role of institutional theory in explaining why China grew so rapidly post 1980 and why SSA lagged in terms of the relative institutional frameworks and how institutions help to explain the differences in growth using various themes.

Second Section

Presently, the role of institutions is progressively significant in terms of economic development. The significance of good endogenous institutions that guarantee long term, comprehensive growth and development is presently acknowledged in principle and in practice. Notwithstanding, the aspect of how such institutions are set up is a matter of discussion. Scholars battle whether institutions are the essential to development, or they improve during the development process (Acemoglu, D. and Robinson, 2010). While there now exists general agreement around the basic significance of institutions in development, the heterogeneity of encounters of countries in the developing world after colonialism cannot be disregarded. Institutional development policies have to be grounded in the variety of experience in developing countries since the one-size-fits-all methodology so well-known and applied in the past failed to spur and support economic growth.

Rodrik (1999, 2000) recommends that effective market-based economies require institutions that protect intellectual property rights, maintain and protect the rule of law, reduces cases and incidences of corruption, present suitable guideline of products, and money markets to neutralize the effects of market recession. The institutions should also support macroeconomic adjustment, including the monetary value and guaranteeing a viable monetary position, and protect social togetherness and security, including reducing social clashes and protecting people from the effects on poverty.

Feasible development and growth entails multiple things spurred by strong institutions. Increasingly fitting advancements, strong arrangements, various morals, and changes in singular conduct are among the more evident variables (Acemoglu, D. and Robinson, 2010). One contributing element that merits more consideration is the component of institutions. In recent years, scientists, organizers, strategy producers and specialists have considered the job of satisfactory and successful institutions for development. In addition, it very well may be contended that institutions and the institutional plans and systems for development give the missing connection that can clarify the distinctions in growth rates and development drifts crosswise over creating countries. It is critical to address the inquiries of how specific institutions work effectively in creating countries and how to conquer existing institutional bottlenecks.

Institutions are a wide idea, with the most broadly acknowledged definition being “the humanly conceived limitations that structure political, economic and social cooperation, including both political and economic institutions that shape motivation structures, in the case of advancing or thwarting the development procedure. The view that institutions are intrinsically endogenous and essentials for development, particularly over the long term in what Przeworski alludes to as new institutionalism overwhelms the institutional talk (Rodrik, 2001). Institutions aid economic development decrease the expenses of economic movement. The expenses incorporate exchange costs, for example, search and data costs, dealing and choice expenses, policing and authorization costs. They lower exchange costs by giving regular lawful systems, and they energize trust by giving policing and equity frameworks to the adherence to regular laws and guidelines.

Political and economic institutions are characteristically connected. Political institutions shape economic institutions, which thus create economic results that strengthen political institutions in ceaseless input. The rise of institutions depends on the blessing of intensity, a harmony between the by right intensity of political institutions, and the defacto intensity of economic quality because of the dispersion of assets, delivering institutions that fluctuate in their level of responsibility to most of individuals (Rodrik, 2010). In this model, great institutions are those that give a safe domain to most of the populace through economic and political incorporation, and are submitted and tenable; on the other hand, poor institutions support a little world class, are temperamental and unreliable, and subsequently don’t boost development.

Poor institutions continue to the extent that political institutions caught by elites lead to extractive economies, which at that point produce economic results that solitary advantage the world class. This endless loop regularly comes from provincial history, and the way to breaking the cycle neither is settled upon in principle, nor clear actually. One way of thinking stresses the power of political institutions, declaring that steady institutional change, and in this way growth and development, is beyond the realm of imagination without first improving political institutions. The approach ramifications of this way of thinking are constrained, as self-fortifying institutions cannot be adjusted exogenously; thus the viewpoint is distressing for countries caught in this endless loop. The substitute view is increasingly idealistic: Building upon Lipset’s Modernization hypothesis, the “growth” school of institutional development focuses on the immediate connection among institutions and economic growth, highlighting observational proof that growth can prompt institutional changes through human and municipal capital.  The heterogeneity of countries suggests that fitting in with one model is inalienably defective. The logical methodology fights that the two institutions and development are endogenous, countering constancy hypothesis and highlighting irregularity in nation explicit settings that can prompt institutional change (Hodgson et al., 2000). Ascribing development to “intersection factors”, including basic points, existing institutions, and even a portion of karma, prepares for focused development arrangements inside every nation’s exceptional setting.

Development institutions and scientists have reported the ascendance of China in the global political economy and basically investigated how the global level of influence is influenced by China’s developing economic extension (Mohamed et al., 2015). Political business analysts have contended that it is a piece of the conventional economic power move from the global north to south while security examines place accentuation on Chinese national geopolitical interests in a few regions. This article talks about what exercises can be drawn from China’s developmental state understanding and how these can advise Sub-Saharan African developmental methodologies.

Both market and non-market institutions and show have driven China’s ascent how impossible to miss relevant verifiable and socio-political elements have been necessary to building the Chinese developmental state (Peukert, 2003). This shows the significance of building powerful state institutions to help manageable economic growth and human development. We feature the standards molding institutional systems identifying with the fast economic growth and contend that African governments ought to apply these in their endeavors to reconstruct state limit. Nonetheless, we likewise call attention to those negative patterns, for example, dictatorship and determined disparity ought not be recreated. Sub-Saharan Africa should manufacture fair developmental states portrayed by genius poor supportable comprehensive growth.

Third Section

As a region, SSA is comprised of 48 countries, 32 of which are independent and has more than 910 million people. On the other hand, China is a single country with over 2 billion people making it the most populous country in the world (Maunganidze, 2016). China economic growth has been on the rise over the last four decades presently making it one of the strongest economies in the world together with the United States. The economic growth and development in China relative to Sub-Saharan Africa has been on the rise due to creation of strong institutions that range from legal systems, intellectual property, corruption, investments and resource allocation.

Legal Systems

It is a principal essential for any nation to come up with a strong legal framework. Taking the case of development economics into account, trade between China and other countries includes multiple exchanges after some time and vendors are regularly associated with multiple transactions in their business activities (Roder et al., 2015). The country therefore heavily invested in legal frameworks with the congress passing multiple laws while also strengthening the judicial system and its independence. The strengthening of the legal system brought about substantial results of which are as predictable as could reasonably be expected. Trades and business were protected with capitalists not taking advantage of the working class. Other essential aspects strengthened were the utilization of methods for installments and the expulsion of the insufficient conventional frameworks of charging interests. Hence, a protection framework, for model, was worked to build the open doors for exchange.

In Sub-Saharan economy, the issue is not the lack of laws and regulations in their legal systems but the lack of adherence and enforcement by the relevant authorities (Sumner, A. and Glennieet al., 2015). While most of the countries use democratic leadership style, the leaders have little regard for the rule of law and often subvert legal systems to favor themselves and their cronies. This means that the legal framework is mostly applied to the poor majority. Accordingly, the presence of powerful and free institutions is basic in executing rules and regulations such as those identified with liquidation, contract requirement, bank guideline, and formal measures. The World Bank contends that the legal framework in a nation is considered as basic for economic, political, just as social development (Perkins, 1994). Wealth creation through the human development, capital resources and technical advancement depends to an enormous degree, on a lot of rules and regulations that safe property rights, overseeing common and business conduct, and constraining the intensity of the state.


After the start of the post-Mao change period in 1978-79, China encountered increased levels of corruption. The pre-change period had instances of corruption.  However, a progression of multiple campaigns against corruption during the 1950s and 1960s largely reduced corruption levels that allowed the government to invest in profitable projects that spurred economic growth (Green, 2003). Kickbacks were paid not in real money but rather in kind, with cigarettes, alcohol, and meat the regular mediums of bribery. In the post-Mao period, the level of corruption expanded exponentially as authorities capitalized on their capacity to control the portion of important resources, including area and capital, as a byproduct of rewards esteemed at a huge number of Chinese renminbi. While a significant part of the corruption during the Maoist time frame occurred on the streets including moderately low-positioning authorities, as of late government clergymen, senior officials, individuals from the common government and gathering device, and even individuals from administering Politburo have been arraigned for corruption. The clarification lies in China’s special administration structure. China’s arrangement of administration can be depicted as a regionally decentralized, tyrant framework.

Sub-Saharan Africa on the other hand is broadly considered the world’s most corrupt places, a factor seen as adding to the hindered development and impoverishment of numerous African states. Of the ten countries considered as the most corrupt on theglobe, six are in sub-Saharan Africa, as per Transparency International, a main global guard dog on corruption. Straightforwardness global (2011) insights demonstrate that the greater parts of the sub-Saharan countries are corrupt (Warikandwa, 2017). Resource management in SSA are controlled either strategically, military or by scarcely any economic super powers. The framework set up is confronting poor administration and appropriation of income and resources based on ethnicity, sex and religion. This has raised the degree of joblessness and underemployment and sex segregation (Qian, 2002). While China come up with measures to reduce levels of corruption after 1980, which allowed the country to allocate income and resource s equitably hence promoting development and growth. Sub-Saharan Africa experienced high levels of corruption, which led to slow growth and development.

Intellectual Property Rights

The intellectual property rights framework rose as a result of the development of commodity economy and human civilization, in different countries, it has progressively become a viable legal aspect for securing the interests of the proprietor of intellectual property, advancing the development of science, technology and the social economy, and permitting global challenge. After China began change and opening to the outside world, it quickened the way toward setting up intellectual property rights security framework to quickly create social profitable powers, advance social advancement, address the issues of building up a communist market economy and speed up China’s entrance into the world economy.

A significant number of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have flourishing companies that are attempting to compete with their international companies, but counterfeit products and piracy has negatively affected their performance (García-Rodríguez, 2015). One of the serious issues is that numerous African countries are not appropriately joined to global conventions ensuring intellectual property rights, so this has made Africa the quickest developing market for fake merchandise. Africa needs complete protected innovation laws if not it will keep on losing the genuinely necessary outside ventures it needs at this essential time of global downturn. Right now, billions of dollars in outside ventures are lost as Sub-Saharan African countries keep on being dumping place for fake goods.

Figure 1: Sub-Saharan Africa GDP Growth

Resource Allocation and Direct Investments

Past growth, profitability increments in China have been significantly high. Between1981 and 2004, China went from more than 66% of the population living on under $1 per day, to less than one individual in ten living in poverty (Chow, 2017). An ongoing investigation of the effect of growth on neediness, looking at China, India, and Brazil, found that China’s growth decreased destitution at a rate half-higher than that of Brazil, and much higher comparative with poverty decrease in India. This has been particularly valid for growth in farming, where growth has had multiple times as extraordinary an effect on decreasing neediness than growth in services and manufacturing.

Interestingly, growth in Sub-Saharan Africa has been joined by much more slow neediness decrease. In the creating scene extensively, a 10% expansion in national income converts into a 20% decrease in destitution (Jerven, 1994). In Africa, a similar increment in pay converts into just a 7% decrease in destitution. An ongoing report crosswise over six African countries found that growth in horticulture diminished neediness by somewhere in the range of 50 and 127% more than growth in other sectors (Maunganidze, 2016). In light of the fact that more than 75% of Africa’s poor are utilized in the farming division, profitability upgrades in agribusiness  may hold uncommon guarantee for decreasing destitution.

Botswana is one of the most growing and well performing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Genuine GDP growth was an expected 4.2% in 2018, up from 2.4% in 2017, supported largely by the recuperation in mining and wide based development of non-mining exercises. The growth in mineral creation was driven for the most part by good global exchanging conditions and the beginning of tasks at the Damtshaa Mine in January 2018 (Médard, 2017). The non-mining development was driven largely by proceeding with accommodative financial and money related arrangements, just as recuperation in downstream jewel businesses. Despite the fact that quelled, farming growth was supported in 2018, floated by great climate conditions. Assembling additionally got marginally, profiting by stable water and power supply.

Mineral incomes represent 76 percent of Botswana’s fare income and 45 percent of government income just as 33 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) of US$19,65 billion, the 21st most elevated in the landmass (Jerven, Morten et al., 2010). The World Bank expressed that the impediments of Botswana’s jewel drove development model had gotten progressively obvious with growth more slow, disparity staying high and occupation creation is constrained. In any case, the economy is still one of the world’s quickest developing economies, averaging around 5% per cent annum over the past decade. Inflation has remained industriously low throughout this year, in spite of a few measures ordered to instigate a higher feature figure

Angola is one of the middle performing countries in Africa. While the country has developed various institutions to steer economic growth, the growth has not performed as expected (Knight, 2014). This is mainly due to the country’s over-dependence on oil. Angola’s economy is overwhelmingly determined by its oil area. Oil generation and its supporting exercises contribute about half of GDP, over 70% of government income, and over 90% of the nation’s fares; Angola is an OPEC part and subject to its heading with respect to oil creation levels. Precious stones contribute an extra 5% to fares (Chan, 2015). Subsistence horticulture gives the fundamental vocation to the vast majority of the individuals, yet 50% of the nation’s nourishment is as yet imported.

The global economic recession of 2008 slowed down Angola’s economic growth and numerous development ventures halted in light of the fact that Luanda collected billions financially past due to outside development organizations when government income fell. Lower costs for oil and jewels likewise brought about GDP falling 0.7% in 2016. Angola officially surrendered its cash peg in 2009 however reinstituted it in April 2016 and keeps up an exaggerated swapping scale. In late 2016, Angola lost the remainder of its reporter associations with remote banks, further worsening hard money issues.

Zimbabwe is one of the worst performing countries in Africa in terms of economic growth. The country has undergone recession over the last 20 years due to poor policies with inflation rising to more than 175%.  Zimbabwe’s economy depends intensely on its mining and horticulture parts. Following a constriction from 1998 to 2008, the economy recorded genuine growth of over 10% every year in the period 2010-13, preceding falling underneath 3% in the period 2014-17, because of poor harvests, low jewel incomes, and diminished venture (Asongu & Kodila-Tedika, 2018). Lower mineral costs, framework and administrative inadequacies, a poor speculation atmosphere, a huge open and outer obligation trouble, and very high government wage costs hinder the nation’s economic presentation. Worldwide monetary institutions need Zimbabwe to execute critical financial and auxiliary reforms before allowing new credits. Remote and local venture keeps on being obstructed by the absence of land residency and titling, the powerlessness to repatriate profits to speculators abroad, and the absence of lucidity with respect to the administration’s Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act.

Final Section

The Chinese growth and development since the 1980s have been fruitful. Over a large portion of a billion people have been lifted out of destitution in merely 30 years which is very great in contrast with western Europe who took more than 200 years to accomplish this. It appears that in any event, for SSA, the huge measures of individuals living in neediness there that there is trust, and it is conceivable. Nevertheless, it is acceptable that SSA it will be hard for SSA to accomplish anything close to this in such a short measure of time. SSA is a region comprised of various countries and various pioneers, they would need to meet up and show the sort of network cohesiveness that the Tigers had to carry growth to the region overall. The proof proposes that the path forward for growth in both SSA and China is proceeding their exchange relationship.

China is less focused on oil than FDI from the more created western countries. Albeit most Chinese FDI is spending on mining, a great deal is as yet spent on producing. As indicated by The Economist Issue called more than Mining Africa is presently more regularly observed by Chinese firms as a spot to work together other than burrowing stuff out of the ground (Hudgson, 2000). China may see an opportunity to transplant some low-esteem included businesses, for example, materials, to Africa in the expectation of getting away work cost increments at home and to discover simpler fare courses to America’. This is doubtlessly SSA’s best chance to make the move over to assembling to guarantee a more promising time to come.

Sub-Saharan Africa has experienced an extended period of stagnation but is slowly picking up. 60% of that segment is under 30, indicating guarantee for an expanding working age populace. Africa can utilize this huge work potential to expand GDP and consequently increment the abundance of the landmass (Warikandwa & Osode, 2017). It ought to be noticed that GDP does not quantify the maintainability of growth, which is important to proceed with development. Other contributing variables to SSA’s growth as of late are largely credited to government moves to make activities, which further better the business atmospheres, by consummation political clashes and taking into account growth to quicken extensively among countries and divisions. Auxiliary changes have prepared for enabling SSA to get aggressive and pull in speculation; such changes have helped fuel the profitability upset by helping organizations to accomplish economies of scale.




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