Political Instability and Savings in Less Developed Countries: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa

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A four-equation model is used to investigate the effects of political instability (PI) on the savings rate in Sub-Saharan Africa. Utilising a comprehensive measure of PI, we find that political instability has a deleterious effect on the savings rate both directly and indirectly through a reduction in investment and economic growth. The negative effects of PI on savings rate occurs contemporaneously as well as with a lag. We also find that economic growth has a stabilising effect on the political system and that not accounting for these effects through a simultaneous equations model results in biased coefficient estimates. These relationships are robust with respect to model specification. The implication of our results is that 'economic factors' alone cannot explain the development process in Less Developed Countries.


An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Allied Social Science Associations Program at the Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association, Boston, MA, January 1994.



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