WIDER Seminar Series

Margaret McMillan on structural change and labor productivity in sub-Saharan Africa

WIDER Seminar Series

Margaret McMillan will present at the WIDER Seminar Series on 20 March 2019. 

Abstract – Structural Change and Labor Productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa

Growth has accelerated in many African countries over the last couple of decades. This growth has been accompanied by structural change but not rapid industrialization. The African experience is particularly intriguing, as growth-enhancing structural change appears to have come typically at the expense of declining labor productivity growth in the more modern sectors of the economy. We explain this anomaly by arguing that the forces that promoted structural change in Africa originated on the demand side, through either external transfers or increases in agricultural incomes. Using firm level data from Ethiopia and Tanzania, we explore strategies for raising productivity in Africa’s modern sectors.

About the speaker

Margaret McMillan is a professor of economics at Tufts University, a Research Associate in the NBER’s program on International Trade and Investment and a Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute. McMillan holds a Ph.D. in economics (with distinction) from Columbia University an MPA from Princeton University and B.A. in mathematics and economics (summa cum laude) from Boston University. She currently serves as the director of Tufts University’s PhD program in economics and public policy. Before coming to academia, she taught math in the Republic of Mali, managed a project for the World Bank in the United Republic of Tanzania and worked as a financial analyst at Lehman Brothers. McMillan is the recipient of numerous awards for her research. In 2005, she was named the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She is also a recipient of research grants from the National Science Foundation, the Center for Aids Research, the NBER Africa Project, the International Growth Centre and the Economic and Social Research Council of the U.K. Her work has been featured in the New York Times and the NBER Digest and has been published in a wide range of leading economics journals.

WIDER Seminar Series

The WIDER Seminar Series showcases recent and ongoing work on key topics in development economics. The weekly sessions held in Helsinki are open to local and visiting researchers, policy makers, and others interested in development topics. Click here to learn more.

For more information email richardson@wider.unu.edu

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