Beyond Miracle and Malaise: Social Capability in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal during the Development Era 1930-1980

Research output: Working paper


This paper investigates the outcome of the efforts to economically catch up during the so-called development era in French speaking West Africa. An attempt is made to measure and discuss key elements of social capability over the period 1930-1980 in Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal following Moses Abramovitz' interpretation of social capability. The paper distinguishes between four elements of social capability: degree of structural transformation, social and economic inclusion, the state's autonomy and its accountability. We find that there was significant but uneven progress in social capability in both countries during the development era. Despite their differences in economic performance both countries confronted fundamental shared challenges. Most notably, our analysis highlights how persistent lack of broad-based access to economic opportunities played a significant role in disrupting sustained economic and social progress in the two countries. This gives an opportunity to reflect on similarities and differences between the development era and the recent African growth phase.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economic History


  • Social capability, Africa, Development, Transformation, Colonialism, N17, O11, O47, O55
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages42
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NameLund Papers in Economic History. Development Economics
PublisherDepartment of Economic History, Lund University

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