September, 2007

Limited Government and Economic Growth in Botswana

  • Scott Beaulier

    Academic Dean, College of Business at North Dakota State University
  • J. Robert Subrick

    Associate Professor of Economics, James Madison University
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The "African growth tragedy" best describes the economic experience of sub-Saharan Africa since the 1970's (easterly and Levine 1997). In many countries, the overall level of income per capita has not increased beyond the levels of income at independence. Corruption and excessive governmental intervention into the economy plague these countries. Like most African countries emerging from colonialism, Botswana was an extremely poor nation. Unlike most other African countries, Botswana manged to escape its low level of development and prosper since independence.Unlike fellow sub-Saharan countries that chose anti-capitalist, statist policy development, Botswana's leaders opted for the path less traveled (at least in sub-Saharan Africa) - an economic and political system built around the rule of law and voluntary exchange. Botswana's political leaders pursued policies that secured property rights and limited the government's role in the economy. As a result, the citizens prospered. 

FInd article at the Journal of Private Enterprise.