The primacy of factors of production, such as labour and capital, over Total Factor Productivity (TFP) in stimulating economic growth, has long been a contentious subject in discussions on the underlying causes of economic growth. While the roles of labour and capital have been exhaustively explored, TFP still has room for further exploration, more specifically in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
I examine the relationship between social and human capital in colonial Western Nigeria. Using data on expenditure of cocoa farmers in 1952, I show that farmers in townships with higher social spending individually spend more on education. The relationship holds after controlling for various characteristics of the farmers and the townships. Thus I show that there is a relationship between social and human capital and that this relationship was already present during the colonial era.
Recent studies have highlighted the importance of Africa's history of slave exporting to its current economic development. In this paper I show that differences in investment in education may be one of the channels through which that history has affected current development. I combine data on literacy rates of administrative districts from the colonial censuses of Nigeria and Ghana from the 1950's with data on slave exports of different ethnic groups.
To the extent that in utero and childhood malnutrition negatively affects later stage mental and physical health, it can possibly constrain later stage human capital acquisition, which is an important driver of economic growth. This paper considers the impact of famine on aggregate adolescent human capital formation in Sub-Saharan Africa. We parameterize a joint adolescent human capital and food nutrition production function to estimate the effects of famine on primary school completion rates of individuals age 15 - 19.
We propose a multisector endogenous growth model incorporating social capital. Social capital only serves as an input in the production of human capital and it involves a cost in terms of the final good. We show that in contrast to existing alternative specifications, this setting assures that social capital enhances productivity gains by playing the role of a timing belt driving the transmission and propagation of all productivity shocks throughout society whatever the sectoral origin of the shocks.
The lack of accurate measures of human capital formation often constrain investigations into the long-run determinants of growth and comparative economic development, especially in regions such as Africa. Using the reported age of criminals in the Courts of Justice records in the Cape Archive, this paper documents, for the first time, the levels of and trends in numeracy for inhabitants of the Cape Colony born between the seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries. Cape inhabitants included the native Khoe and San, European settlers, and imported slaves from other African regions and Asia.