Based on its diamond-led growth since the late 1960s onwards, Botswana is hailed as an African growth miracle. It is also known as a country with high levels of economic inequality, the gini peaking at 0.63 in 1993. We scrutinize the relationship between the two – growth and inequality. We show that the rise in inequality is not driven by the extraction of a high value natural resource. Instead, the explanation is found in the polarisation in the cattle sector and increasing wages for government officials during the modest cattle-led growth period starting in the 1940s.
Hillbom, E., & Bolt, J. (2018). Botswana–A Modern Economic History: An African Diamond in the Rough. Springer.
Bolt, J., & Hillbom, E. (2016). Long‐term trends in economic inequality: lessons from colonial Botswana, 1921–74. The Economic History Review, 69(4), 1255-1284.
Bolt, J., & Hillbom, E. (2015). Potential for Diversification? The Role of the Formal Sector in Bechuanaland Protectorate’s Economy, 1900–65. Economic History of Developing Regions, 30(2), 95-124.