Abstract

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between the quality of different dimensions of institutional and economic growth in a panel of 15 member ECOWAS.Design/methodology/approach - The study adopts Driscoll and Kraay's nonparametric covariance matrix estimator, and the spatial error model to account for cross-section dependency, cross-country heterogeneity and spatial dependence inherent in empirical modelling, which has largely been ignored in previous studies. This is because, the likelihood that corruption and human capital cluster in space is very high because factors that affect these phenomena disperse across borders. Similarly, to test the threshold effect, the study adopts the more refined and more appropriate dynamic panel data which models a nonlinear asymmetric dynamics and cross-sectional heterogeneity, simultaneously, in a dynamic threshold panel data framework.Findings - The empirical evidence supports findings by previous researchers that better-quality political and economic institutions can have positive effects on economic growth. Similarly, our results support a nonlinear relationship between political institutions and economic institution, confirming the "hierarchy of institution hypothesis" in ECOWAS. Specifically, the findings show that economic institutions will only have the desired economic outcome in ECOWAS, only when political institution is above a certain threshold.Originality/value - Unlike previous studies which assume cross-sectional and spatial independence, the authors account for cross-section dependency and cross-country heterogeneity inherent in empirical modelling.


Authors

Olaoye, Olumide;  Aderajo, Oluwatosin

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  • pre-publication peer review (FINAL ROUND)
    Decision Letter
    2020/05/21

    21-May-2020

    Dear Olaoye, Olumide; Aderajo, Oluwatosin

    It is a pleasure to accept your manuscript IJSE-10-2019-0630.R2, entitled "Institutional and Economic Growth in ECOWAS: An investigation into hierarchy of institution hypothesis (HIH)" in its current form for publication in International Journal of Social Economics. Please note, no further changes can be made to your manuscript.

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    Dr. Richard Woodward
    Editor, International Journal of Social Economics
    ac0956@coventry.ac.uk

    Decision letter by
    Cite this decision letter
    Reviewer report
    2020/05/21

    Thank you for making the edits this is a better paper now

    Reviewed by
    Cite this review
    Author Response
    2020/04/20

    Response to comments

    Recommendation: Minor Revision

    Comments:
    It's improved, but it is not there yet.
    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment. The paper has been improved upon based on the recommendations of the reviewers.

    Additional Questions:
    Originality: Does the paper contain new and significant information adequate to justify publication?: The paper is better than the previous draft but still needs work .
    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment.

    Relationship to Literature: Does the paper demonstrate an adequate understanding of the relevant literature in the field and cite an appropriate range of literature sources? Is any significant work ignored?: I think 'adequate' is the key here. I'd rather read something significant than adequate so:
    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment. The paper has been significantly improved to reflect the suggestions made by reviewers.

    1. develop the institutional literature more and build more from Young etc in particular
      Reply: Thank you sir for this comment. We have adequately

    2.The spatial dependence section would benefit from developing the lit on page 6. I'd suggest looking at:

    Baltagi, B. H., & Hashem Pesaran, M. (2007). Heterogeneity and cross section dependence in panel data models: theory and applications introduction. Journal of Applied Econometrics, 22(2), 229-232.

    Baltagi, B. H., & Liu, L. (2008). Testing for random effects and spatial lag dependence in panel data models. Statistics & Probability Letters, 78(18), 3304-3306.

    In planning, also for p. 13:

    Lopes, S. B., Brondino, N. C. M., & Rodrigues da Silva, A. N. (2014). GIS-based analytical tools for transport planning: Spatial regression models for transportation demand forecast. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, 3(2), 565-583.

    Gessler, P. E., Moore, I. D., McKenzie, N. J., & Ryan, P. J. (1995). Soil-landscape modelling and spatial prediction of soil attributes. International journal of geographical information systems, 9(4), 421-432.

    Paci, R., & Usai, S. (2008). Agglomeration economies, spatial dependence and local industry growth. Revue d'économie industrielle, (123), 87-109.

    Page 7 needs more development
    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment. The texts suggested above have been adequately cited in the work. More importantly, Baltagi, B. H., & Hashem Pesaran, M. (2007) and Baltagi, B. H., & Liu, L. (2008). Please see

    Methodology: Is the paper's argument built on an appropriate base of theory, concepts, or other ideas? Has the research or equivalent intellectual work on which the paper is based been well designed? Are the methods employed appropriate?: It's getting closer. I'm not sold on some of the analytical tools used. table 6 eithr has a typo or more seriously, a data problem. The Moran's I value doesn't track with the p. Maybe try Geary's C if it's a data issue

    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment. We regret the typographical error seen in table 6. We have effected the corrections sir. The Moran’s I test shows a statistically significant coefficient. See Table 8.

    Results: Are results presented clearly and analysed appropriately? Do the conclusions adequately tie together the other elements of the paper?: better, but could be developed more

    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment. The results have been properly tied to exiting studies.

    Implications for research, practice and/or society: Does the paper identify clearly any implications for research, practice and/or society? Does the paper bridge the gap between theory and practice? How can the research be used in practice (economic and commercial impact), in teaching, to influence public policy, in research (contributing to the body of knowledge)? What is the impact upon society (influencing public attitudes, affecting quality of life)? Are these implications consistent with the findings and conclusions of the paper?: better, but needs another edit
    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment.

    Quality of Communication: Does the paper clearly express its case, measured against the technical language of the field and the expected knowledge of the journal's readership? Has attention been paid to the clarity of expression and readability, such as sentence structure, jargon use, acronyms, etc.: Still making un/under-supported claims clean up the writing

    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment.

    Reviewer: 2

    Recommendation: Major Revision

    Comments:
    SUMMARY:
    The paper examines relationship between institution and economic growth in Africa and the hierarchy of importance between political and economic institutions. The paper is an improvement on the earlier submission.
    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment.

    The paper has been able to corrects some of the minor and major weakness identified in the earlier submission, resulting in a significant improvement. For instance, author has been able to justify the choice of ECOWAS as study area. Although the justification contains some unnecessary details which should be expunged. Providing a detail explanation of Community Court of Justice is unnecessary. Also, relating to reviewers’ comment on the inability of the author to explains the findings of the papers cited in order to established gaps in the literature, this as also been clearly explained and shortcomings associated with these studies clearly established.
    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment.

    The author has also addressed comments relating to numbering of equations and explain clearly the strength and weaknesses associated with the techniques adopted.
    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment.

    The concept of instructional infrastructure, one of the key words appearing in the title of the paper is yet to be conceptualized. Institutional Infrastructure cannot be taken to be “Institution”. If author could not conceptualize institutional infrastructure, I suggest the word “Infrastructure” should be removed from the title of the paper.
    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment. We agree with the reviewer on this point. The paper has been adequately adjusted to reflect this suggestion. The word “infrastructure” has been removed. Please see the topic and body of the work for details

    On the conceptualization of institution, author still maintains its position by conceptualizing institution as government policies protecting property rights only, citing some authors including North (1991). It should be noted that institution has a wider scope than being conceptualized as government policies but entails both formal or informal rules of the game (North,1990) Conceptualizing institutions as government policies protecting property rights only captures formal rules, what about the unofficial rules which also has great influence on the conduct of group activities with great impact on growth? Author should first of all acknowledge this in the present study and then go ahead with his or her own conceptualization to suit the present study.
    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment. We have developed the concept of institutions further to reflect both formal or informal rules. Please see page 3.

    On the link between various types of institutions and their impacts on growth as explained on page 3, at the tail end of the 2nd paragraph, there is an improvement in this respect. Although, one expects to see an improvement upon Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson (2005) schematic explanation of the hierarchy of institutions but this is not the case. A diagrammatic framework providing a precise flow of impacts among the variables of interest could have been of great help in this respect, but this has not been done. I suggest that diagrammatic framework should be developed to clearly show the hierarchy of institutions flow of relationship/impact between various types of institutions and economic growth.
    Variables definitions and measurements is still an issue. On page 17, author attempts to justify the use INS3 as a proxy for political institution measured by external conflict and investment profile without a source. Author should be aware that investment profile is made up of three sub- components (contract viability, Profits repatriation and payments delays) as defined by PRS Group. It is an assessment of factors affecting the risk to investment that are not covered by other factors (see ICRG Methodology). In what way can one liken all the three sub-components investment profile to political institution? These sub-components are more of economic than political institutions as explained by the PRS Group.

    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment. We have developed a schematic explanation of the hierarchy of institutions. Please see page 5

    Also, it could have been more appropriate if the author considered the use of internal conflict rather the external conflict as another component of political institution. The methodology used in generating an index of this nature should guide its adoption and what it can be used to measure. According to PRS Group external conflict is an assessment both of the risk to the incumbent government from foreign action, ranging from non-violent external pressure (diplomatic pressures, withholding of aid, trade restrictions, territorial disputes, sanctions, etc) In the context of the present study, internal conflict which is an assessment of political violence in the country and its actual or potential impact on governance could have been more appropriate. Based on the identified problems, the likely problem of measurement errors in the study still persist. Considering the objective of the study aimed at establishing the hierarchy of institution, the way and manner variables are measured become very important in order to avoid wrong inferences.
    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment. Also, we have also investigated the effect of political institutions using internal conflict on economic growth in ECOWAS, while also retaining external conflict. On external conflict, we follow salesman, et al., (2015) in this regard. Investment profile has been used has a proxy for economic institution. Please see details on page 22 and Table 7.

    In addition to the above, on page 8 authors clearly stated the control variables as trade openness, inflation, foreign direct investment and government expenditure, but how are these variables measured is virtually omitted. A section or paragraph should be dedicated to variables definitions and measurements.
    The likely problems of omitted variable are yet be resolved. Since author(s) adopted Cobb-Douglas production model with capital and labor as traditional growth variables as shown in equation (1), page 7. Yet, in order to account for this, only capital (Gross Capital Formation) was captured, omitting human capital entirely in a labor augmenting model accounting for growth in Africa. Therefore, author(s) don’t take into consideration country-level idiosyncrasies of the linkage between institution and growth for the case of Africa, where level of technology development is very low and overly dependence on human capital. Therefore, examining the nexus between institutions and growth in Africa adopting Cobb-Douglas production function as its theoretical framework, without considering the role of human capital, can lead to false conclusions.

    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment. We have provided a detail explanation on data measurement and definition. Please see page 19. More importantly, we have addressed the issue of omitted potentially relevant variables and measure error. Specifically, we have included human capital proxied by government spending on health and education (as a percentage of total government spending). Please see Table 7 and page 22 for details.

    Additional Questions:
    Originality: Does the paper contain new and significant information adequate to justify publication?: yes, the paper is promising in term of adding value to the existing literature on the importance of different types of institutions to growth.
    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment.

    Relationship to Literature: Does the paper demonstrate an adequate understanding of the relevant literature in the field and cite an appropriate range of literature sources? Is any significant work ignored?: T some extent the paper demonstrate the understanding of the relevant literature and most significant work were cited.
    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment.

    Additional comment from Authors
    Thank you sir(s) for all the comments and suggestions raised. We have revised our manuscripts to reflect all the comments.



    Cite this author response
  • pre-publication peer review (ROUND 2)
    Decision Letter
    2020/02/25

    25-Feb-2020

    Dear Mr. Olaoye:

    Manuscript ID IJSE-10-2019-0630.R1 entitled "Institutional Infrastructure and Economic Growth in ECOWAS: An investigation into hierarchy of institution hypothesis (HIH)" which you submitted to the International Journal of Social Economics, has been reviewed. The comments of the reviewer(s) are included at the bottom of this letter.

    The reviewer(s) have recommended major revisions to the submitted manuscript, before it can be considered for publication. Therefore, I invite you to respond to the reviewer(s)' comments and revise your manuscript.

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    Once again, thank you for submitting your manuscript to the International Journal of Social Economics and I look forward to receiving your revision.

    Sincerely,
    Dr. Richard Woodward
    Editor, International Journal of Social Economics
    ac0956@coventry.ac.uk

    Reviewer(s)' Comments to Author:
    Reviewer: 1

    Recommendation: Minor Revision

    Comments:
    It's improved, but it is not there yet

    Additional Questions:
    Originality: Does the paper contain new and significant information adequate to justify publication?: The paper is better than the previous draft but still needs work .

    Relationship to Literature: Does the paper demonstrate an adequate understanding of the relevant literature in the field and cite an appropriate range of literature sources? Is any significant work ignored?: I think 'adequate' is the key here. I'd rather read something significant than adequate so:

    1. develop the institutional literature more and build more from Young etc in particular

    2.The spatial dependence section would benefit from developing the lit on page 6. I'd suggest looking at:

    Baltagi, B. H., & Hashem Pesaran, M. (2007). Heterogeneity and cross section dependence in panel data models: theory and applications introduction. Journal of Applied Econometrics, 22(2), 229-232.

    Baltagi, B. H., & Liu, L. (2008). Testing for random effects and spatial lag dependence in panel data models. Statistics & Probability Letters, 78(18), 3304-3306.

    In planning, also for p. 13:

    Lopes, S. B., Brondino, N. C. M., & Rodrigues da Silva, A. N. (2014). GIS-based analytical tools for transport planning: Spatial regression models for transportation demand forecast. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, 3(2), 565-583.

    Gessler, P. E., Moore, I. D., McKenzie, N. J., & Ryan, P. J. (1995). Soil-landscape modelling and spatial prediction of soil attributes. International journal of geographical information systems, 9(4), 421-432.

    Paci, R., & Usai, S. (2008). Agglomeration economies, spatial dependence and local industry growth. Revue d'économie industrielle, (123), 87-109.

    Page 7 needs more development

    Methodology: Is the paper's argument built on an appropriate base of theory, concepts, or other ideas? Has the research or equivalent intellectual work on which the paper is based been well designed? Are the methods employed appropriate?: It's getting closer. I'm not sold on some of the analytical tools used. table 6 eithr has a typo or more seriously, a data problem. The Moran's I value doesn't track with the p. Maybe try Geary's C if it's a data issue

    Results: Are results presented clearly and analysed appropriately? Do the conclusions adequately tie together the other elements of the paper?: better, but could be developed more

    Implications for research, practice and/or society: Does the paper identify clearly any implications for research, practice and/or society? Does the paper bridge the gap between theory and practice? How can the research be used in practice (economic and commercial impact), in teaching, to influence public policy, in research (contributing to the body of knowledge)? What is the impact upon society (influencing public attitudes, affecting quality of life)? Are these implications consistent with the findings and conclusions of the paper?: better, but needs another edit

    Quality of Communication: Does the paper clearly express its case, measured against the technical language of the field and the expected knowledge of the journal's readership? Has attention been paid to the clarity of expression and readability, such as sentence structure, jargon use, acronyms, etc.: Still making un/under-supported claims clean up thewriting

    Reproducible Research: If appropriate, is sufficient information, potentially including data and software, provided to reproduce the results and are the corresponding datasets formally cited?:

    This journal is participating in Publons Transparent Peer Review. By reviewing for this journal, you agree that your finished report, along with the author’s responses and the Editor’s decision letter, will be linked to from the published article to where they appear on Publons, if the paper is accepted. If you have any concerns about participating in the Transparent Peer Review pilot, please reach out to the journal’s Editorial office. Please indicate below, whether you would like your name to appear with your report on Publons by indicating yes or no.: No, I would not like my name to appear with my report on Publons

    Reviewer: 2

    Recommendation: Major Revision

    Comments:
    SUMMARY:
    The paper examines relationship between institution and economic growth in Africa and the hierarchy of importance between political and economic institutions. The paper is an improvement on the earlier submission.

    The paper has been able to corrects some of the minor and major weakness identified in the earlier submission, resulting in a significant improvement. For instance, author has been able to justify the choice of ECOWAS as study area. Although the justification contains some unnecessary details which should be expunged. Providing a detail explanation of Community Court of Justice is unnecessary. Also, relating to reviewers’ comment on the inability of the author to explains the findings of the papers cited in order to established gaps in the literature, this as also been clearly explained and shortcomings associated with these studies clearly established.
    The author has also addressed comments relating to numbering of equations and explain clearly the strength and weaknesses associated with the techniques adopted.
    The concept of instructional infrastructure, one of the key words appearing in the title of the paper is yet to be conceptualized. Institutional Infrastructure cannot be taken to be “Institution”. If author could not conceptualize institutional infrastructure, I suggest the word “Infrastructure” should be removed from the title of the paper.
    On the conceptualization of institution, author still maintains its position by conceptualizing institution as government policies protecting property rights only, citing some authors including North (1991). It should be noted that institution has a wider scope than being conceptualized as government policies but entails both formal or informal rules of the game (North,1990) Conceptualizing institutions as government policies protecting property rights only captures formal rules, what about the unofficial rules which also has great influence on the conduct of group activities with great impact on growth? Author should first of all acknowledge this in the present study and then go ahead with his or her own conceptualization to suit the present study.

    On the link between various types of institutions and their impacts on growth as explained on page 3, at the tail end of the 2nd paragraph, there is an improvement in this respect. Although, one expects to see an improvement upon Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson (2005) schematic explanation of the hierarchy of institutions but this is not the case. A diagrammatic framework providing a precise flow of impacts among the variables of interest could have been of great help in this respect, but this has not been done. I suggest that diagrammatic framework should be developed to clearly show the hierarchy of institutions flow of relationship/impact between various types of institutions and economic growth.
    Variables definitions and measurements is still an issue. On page 17, author attempts to justify the use INS3 as a proxy for political institution measured by external conflict and investment profile without a source. Author should be aware that investment profile is made up of three sub- components (contract viability, Profits repatriation and payments delays) as defined by PRS Group. It is an assessment of factors affecting the risk to investment that are not covered by other factors (see ICRG Methodology). In what way can one liken all the three sub-components investment profile to political institution? These sub-components are more of economic than political institutions as explained by the PRS Group.

    Also, it could have been more appropriate if the author considered the use of internal conflict rather the external conflict as another component of political institution. The methodology used in generating an index of this nature should guide its adoption and what it can be used to measure. According to PRS Group external conflict is an assessment both of the risk to the incumbent government from foreign action, ranging from non-violent external pressure (diplomatic pressures, withholding of aid, trade restrictions, territorial disputes, sanctions, etc) In the context of the present study, internal conflict which is an assessment of political violence in the country and its actual or potential impact on governance could have been more appropriate. Based on the identified problems, the likely problem of measurement errors in the study still persist. Considering the objective of the study aimed at establishing the hierarchy of institution, the way and manner variables are measured become very important in order to avoid wrong inferences.

    In addition to the above, on page 8 authors clearly stated the control variables as trade openness, inflation, foreign direct investment and government expenditure, but how are these variables measured is virtually omitted. A section or paragraph should be dedicated to variables definitions and measurements.
    The likely problems of omitted variable are yet be resolved. Since author(s) adopted Cobb-Douglas production model with capital and labor as traditional growth variables as shown in equation (1), page 7. Yet, in order to account for this, only capital (Gross Capital Formation) was captured, omitting human capital entirely in a labor augmenting model accounting for growth in Africa. Therefore, author(s) don’t take into consideration country-level idiosyncrasies of the linkage between institution and growth for the case of Africa, where level of technology development is very low and overly dependence on human capital. Therefore, examining the nexus between institutions and growth in Africa adopting Cobb-Douglas production function as its theoretical framework, without considering the role of human capital, can lead to false conclusions.

    Additional Questions:
    Originality: Does the paper contain new and significant information adequate to justify publication?: yes, the paper is promising in term of adding value to the existing literature on the importance of different types of institutions to growth.

    Relationship to Literature: Does the paper demonstrate an adequate understanding of the relevant literature in the field and cite an appropriate range of literature sources? Is any significant work ignored?: T some extent the paper demonstrate the understanding of the relevant literature and most significant work were cited.

    Methodology: Is the paper's argument built on an appropriate base of theory, concepts, or other ideas? Has the research or equivalent intellectual work on which the paper is based been well designed? Are the methods employed appropriate?: The paper argument is built on an appropriate theory, but the theory has not been well employed resulting to omission of variables. Also, one of the major explanatory variable "political institution" has been wrongly measured.

    Results: Are results presented clearly and analysed appropriately? Do the conclusions adequately tie together the other elements of the paper?: Since the variable of political institution is wrongly measured, couple with omission of an important variable (human capital) in the model, the result that will be obtained from such model will be prone to error. As such, conclusion drawn from such result will be invalid.

    Implications for research, practice and/or society: Does the paper identify clearly any implications for research, practice and/or society? Does the paper bridge the gap between theory and practice? How can the research be used in practice (economic and commercial impact), in teaching, to influence public policy, in research (contributing to the body of knowledge)? What is the impact upon society (influencing public attitudes, affecting quality of life)? Are these implications consistent with the findings and conclusions of the paper?: Yes, the implication and findings are in consistent with the results, but due to the fact that the results are prone to error, any implication drawn from such results will remain invalid.

    Quality of Communication: Does the paper clearly express its case, measured against the technical language of the field and the expected knowledge of the journal's readership? Has attention been paid to the clarity of expression and readability, such as sentence structure, jargon use, acronyms, etc.: Above average.

    Reproducible Research: If appropriate, is sufficient information, potentially including data and software, provided to reproduce the results and are the corresponding datasets formally cited?: No, not reproducible. The sources of some data (inflation, FDI, government expenditure etc.) were not provided and how they were measured are also not stated. In addition, the software used for the estimation was also not disclosed.

    This journal is participating in Publons Transparent Peer Review. By reviewing for this journal, you agree that your finished report, along with the author’s responses and the Editor’s decision letter, will be linked to from the published article to where they appear on Publons, if the paper is accepted. If you have any concerns about participating in the Transparent Peer Review pilot, please reach out to the journal’s Editorial office. Please indicate below, whether you would like your name to appear with your report on Publons by indicating yes or no.: Yes, I would like my name to appear with my report on Publons

    Decision letter by
    Cite this decision letter
    Reviewer report
    2020/02/24

    SUMMARY:
    The paper examines relationship between institution and economic growth in Africa and the hierarchy of importance between political and economic institutions. The paper is an improvement on the earlier submission.

    The paper has been able to corrects some of the minor and major weakness identified in the earlier submission, resulting in a significant improvement. For instance, author has been able to justify the choice of ECOWAS as study area. Although the justification contains some unnecessary details which should be expunged. Providing a detail explanation of Community Court of Justice is unnecessary. Also, relating to reviewers’ comment on the inability of the author to explains the findings of the papers cited in order to established gaps in the literature, this as also been clearly explained and shortcomings associated with these studies clearly established.
    The author has also addressed comments relating to numbering of equations and explain clearly the strength and weaknesses associated with the techniques adopted.
    The concept of instructional infrastructure, one of the key words appearing in the title of the paper is yet to be conceptualized. Institutional Infrastructure cannot be taken to be “Institution”. If author could not conceptualize institutional infrastructure, I suggest the word “Infrastructure” should be removed from the title of the paper.
    On the conceptualization of institution, author still maintains its position by conceptualizing institution as government policies protecting property rights only, citing some authors including North (1991). It should be noted that institution has a wider scope than being conceptualized as government policies but entails both formal or informal rules of the game (North,1990) Conceptualizing institutions as government policies protecting property rights only captures formal rules, what about the unofficial rules which also has great influence on the conduct of group activities with great impact on growth? Author should first of all acknowledge this in the present study and then go ahead with his or her own conceptualization to suit the present study.

    On the link between various types of institutions and their impacts on growth as explained on page 3, at the tail end of the 2nd paragraph, there is an improvement in this respect. Although, one expects to see an improvement upon Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson (2005) schematic explanation of the hierarchy of institutions but this is not the case. A diagrammatic framework providing a precise flow of impacts among the variables of interest could have been of great help in this respect, but this has not been done. I suggest that diagrammatic framework should be developed to clearly show the hierarchy of institutions flow of relationship/impact between various types of institutions and economic growth.
    Variables definitions and measurements is still an issue. On page 17, author attempts to justify the use INS3 as a proxy for political institution measured by external conflict and investment profile without a source. Author should be aware that investment profile is made up of three sub- components (contract viability, Profits repatriation and payments delays) as defined by PRS Group. It is an assessment of factors affecting the risk to investment that are not covered by other factors (see ICRG Methodology). In what way can one liken all the three sub-components investment profile to political institution? These sub-components are more of economic than political institutions as explained by the PRS Group.

    Also, it could have been more appropriate if the author considered the use of internal conflict rather the external conflict as another component of political institution. The methodology used in generating an index of this nature should guide its adoption and what it can be used to measure. According to PRS Group external conflict is an assessment both of the risk to the incumbent government from foreign action, ranging from non-violent external pressure (diplomatic pressures, withholding of aid, trade restrictions, territorial disputes, sanctions, etc) In the context of the present study, internal conflict which is an assessment of political violence in the country and its actual or potential impact on governance could have been more appropriate. Based on the identified problems, the likely problem of measurement errors in the study still persist. Considering the objective of the study aimed at establishing the hierarchy of institution, the way and manner variables are measured become very important in order to avoid wrong inferences.

    In addition to the above, on page 8 authors clearly stated the control variables as trade openness, inflation, foreign direct investment and government expenditure, but how are these variables measured is virtually omitted. A section or paragraph should be dedicated to variables definitions and measurements.
    The likely problems of omitted variable are yet be resolved. Since author(s) adopted Cobb-Douglas production model with capital and labor as traditional growth variables as shown in equation (1), page 7. Yet, in order to account for this, only capital (Gross Capital Formation) was captured, omitting human capital entirely in a labor augmenting model accounting for growth in Africa. Therefore, author(s) don’t take into consideration country-level idiosyncrasies of the linkage between institution and growth for the case of Africa, where level of technology development is very low and overly dependence on human capital. Therefore, examining the nexus between institutions and growth in Africa adopting Cobb-Douglas production function as its theoretical framework, without considering the role of human capital, can lead to false conclusions.

    Cite this review
    Reviewer report
    2020/01/29

    It's improved, but it is not there yet

    Reviewed by
    Cite this review
    Author Response
    2020/01/22

    Reviewer 1
    Originality: Does the paper contain new and significant information adequate to justify publication? The methodology is novel. However, in its current stage of development it does not justify publication however. With some revision, editing, and development this could be really solid work.
    Reply: Thank you for this comment sir. We have carried out some revisions and editorial works to reflect your comments sir.

    Relationship to Literature: Does the paper demonstrate an adequate understanding of the relevant literature in the field and cite an appropriate range of literature sources? Is any significant work ignored?: The coverage of institutions is a bit off on page three I recommend using:

    Nishi, H. (2010). Institutional Hierarchy Hypothesis, Multilayered Adjustment, and Macroeconomic Performance: A Post-Keynesian Dynamic Approach. Evolutionary and Institutional Economics Review, 7(1), 155-171.

    The organizational literature on institutions is massive, and the author or authors have the potential to theoretically link institutional thought to this empirical test. However, that would require the legitimate development of the literature on institutions. I recommend beginning with Powell & Dimaggio (1991) and Scott (1994) and developing a theoretical frame from that as a basis.
    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment. The suggestions have been taken into consideration and effected. We have created a separate section to deeply reflect development of institutions citing Powell & Dimaggio (1991) and Scott (1994)
    Please see section on The New Institutional Economics on page 1 under Introduction.

    There's some problematic language used on page 18. Specifically, the author(s) conflate rent seeking behavior and greed. There's not an adequate treatment of rent seeking behavior in this paper within the theoretical argument. Therefore, this should be dropped or developed significantly.
    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment. We have revised the write-up to deeply discuss greed. The argument on the rent-seeking behavior of political elites will be deeply discussed in further studies.

    Methodology: Is the paper's argument built on an appropriate base of theory, concepts, or other ideas? Has the research or equivalent intellectual work on which the paper is based been well designed? Are the methods employed appropriate?: In this form, it is under-conceptualized theoretically. I do believe that the attempt to account for spatial dependency is more clever than most and provides some merit. The use of GMM appears appropriate in this case. I remain skeptical about the size of the data set they're using for this analysis. Based on the discussion, the author authors might be facing a problem where the parameters they are estimating exceeds the capacity of the data set. That should be addressed more clearly. The construction of factors needs more work. Specifically, there needs to be some tests of the quality of the factor analysis. That was not apparent.

    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment. The use of GMM has been clearly discussed in the literature to be adequate to address our data. Specifically, Roodman (2009a, 2009b) has clearly discussed the use of GMM with unbalanced panel and number of cross sections N greater that time T. However, we have gone further to account for spatial dependence which has largely been ignored in extant studies. Please see section 2.4 on page 12. For Spatial Econometrics Analysis.

    Results: Are results presented clearly and analysed appropriately? Do the conclusions adequately tie together the other elements of the paper?: At the end of the discussion, I was expecting some treatment of the spatial dependency across the different areas being observed. I believe capturing that would've made this a much more powerful paper. By adapting spatial dependency as a proxy for institutional contagions could've made this a much more interesting paper.

    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment. This has been discussed in the preceding section. Please see section 2.4 on page 12 for more discussion.

    Implications for research, practice and/or society: Does the paper identify clearly any implications for research, practice and/or society? Does the paper bridge the gap between theory and practice? How can the research be used in practice (economic and commercial impact), in teaching, to influence public policy, in research (contributing to the body of knowledge)? What is the impact upon society (influencing public attitudes, affecting quality of life)? Are these implications consistent with the findings and conclusions of the paper?: If developed, I believe that this manuscript could provide some useful impacts. I think that that the use of spatial dependency could be promising. I think that the choice of the model is appropriate. However, the paper is under-conceptualized and needs to be developed significantly.

    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment. Spatial dependence test has been done and results deeply discussed in section 4.

    Quality of Communication: Does the paper clearly express its case, measured against the technical language of the field and the expected knowledge of the journal's readership? Has attention been paid to the clarity of expression and readability, such as sentence structure, jargon use, acronyms, etc.: This manuscript might be a little bit too sophisticated methodologically for some readers. However, if the recommendations made are undertaken in good faith I believe that this could provide the basis for some more consideration of topics in the region. With work, this has the potential to break out of the simplistic case studies of corruption papers that tend to emerge from west African regions and produce some interesting research both immediately and in the future.

    Reviewer 2
    Relationship to Literature: Does the paper demonstrate an adequate understanding of the relevant literature in the field and cite an appropriate range of literature sources? Is any significant work ignored?: An adequate understanding of relevant literature has been depicted in the paper.

    Methodology: Is the paper's argument built on an appropriate base of theory, concepts, or other ideas? Has the research or equivalent intellectual work on which the paper is based been well designed? Are the methods employed appropriate?: This paper lacks in argument building. It would have been more appropriate, if the author had made a theoretical framework in the form of flow chart to simplify / explain the linkage among the variables used in the analysis.
    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment. We have developed a theoretical framework for this study to reflect the role of institution in the growth process. Please see section 2 on page 7

    In this paper, author has used a time period i.e.2005-2017. A macro panel approach might have been more suitable.
    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment. The use of GMM has been clearly discussed in the literature to be adequate to address our data. Specifically, Roodman (2009a, 2009b) has clearly discussed the use of GMM with unbalanced panel and number of cross sections N greater that time T.

    Results: Are results presented clearly and analysed appropriately? Do the conclusions adequately tie together the other elements of the paper?: average

    Implications for research, practice and/or society: Does the paper identify clearly any implications for research, practice and/or society? Does the paper bridge the gap between theory and practice? How can the research be used in practice (economic and commercial impact), in teaching, to influence public policy, in research (contributing to the body of knowledge)? What is the impact upon society (influencing public attitudes, affecting quality of life)? Are these implications consistent with the findings and conclusions of the paper?: This paper lacks in framing policy recommendations.
    Reply: The reply we have identified some implications and policy recommendations in the recommendation section.

    Quality of Communication: Does the paper clearly express its case, measured against the technical language of the field and the expected knowledge of the journal's readership? Has attention been paid to the clarity of expression and readability, such as sentence structure, jargon use, acronyms, etc.: good

    Reviewer 3
    The paper tries to explore the relationship between institution and economic growth in Africa and the hierarchy of institutions. The paper is generally interesting, however, the theoretical foundation should be clearly and adequately explained. Also, key words should be clearly conceptualized and a clear definition and measurement of some variables should be provided. Most importantly, human capital should be captured in the model for a proper specification of Cobb-Douglas production function.
    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment. We acknowledge the role of human capital as identified in the Cobb-Douglas production function, however, we are constrained by data availability. Specifically, for ECOWAS countries data on Human Capital as denoted by government spending on education and health are not available for all countries in our panel study. Similarly, data on Human capital index is just recently being reported for these countries.

    Additional Questions:
    Originality: Does the paper contain new and significant information adequate to justify publication?: Yes, the topic of the study can be interested to wider audience as several relevant and current papers that deal with the topic of institution and its impact on growth are included in the literature review. The paper also departs from existing literature by accounting for cross-section dependency and cross-country heterogeneity common with most empirical modellings.

    Relationship to Literature: Does the paper demonstrate an adequate understanding of the relevant literature in the field and cite an appropriate range of literature sources? Is any significant work ignored?: Yes to a certain extent. In section 1.0, author used the word “several” but cited a single author as example. It is expected that when the word "several" is used, more than one author is to be cited. Further in introduction section, page 4 last paragraph, author attempts to establish methodological gaps in the existing studies but failed to cite some of these studies that have failed to address the issue of endogeneity.
    Reply: Thank you for this comment sir. The comments are duly noted and has the corrections have been effected. Please the coloured text on page 5.

    Author(s) also list papers with the key words in the title of their paper, they fail to explain the connection to their own research and detail explanation of the findings of these papers. For instance, on page 3, 1st paragraph line 10, several papers were cited without providing their findings in order to show how related the papers are to the present study.

    Another major problems with the study is the inability of the author to conceptualized “Institutional infrastructure” which appear in the title of the study as a key word. Throughout the paper the word “Institutional Infrastructure” only appear twice (on page 2, 2nd paragraph and on page 6, section 2.0) it seems as if the word was smuggled into the study

    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment. We have provided a separate section “The New Institutional Economics under Introduction on page 1 to deeply discuss institutional infrastructure

    Methodology: Is the paper's argument built on an appropriate base of theory, concepts, or other ideas? Has the research or equivalent intellectual work on which the paper is based been well designed? Are the methods employed appropriate?: The paper's argument is built on an appropriate methods and theory but the theory has not been well explained. In section one, the link between various types of institution and their impact on growth is explained poorly and sloppy. Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson (2005) provide a schematic explanation of the hierarchy of institutions. Author attempts using this as theoretical foundation for the study but this was briefly discussed. A framework should be developed to clearly show the hierarchy of institutions and direction of causality (flow of relationship/impact between the various types of institution and economic growth.
    On page 3, 1st paragraph, author conceptualized institution as government policies protecting property rights, this seems strange in Institutional Economics. North (1990) conceptualized institution as rule of the game which defines who get what? Author should be aware that institution can be formal or informal (cultural institutions) and goes beyond issues of policy.

    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment. We have revised the definition to include other authors. Please see section on New Institutional Economics

    The strengths of various techniques adopted in the study have been clearly explained by the author, but it is equally important to identify some of the weakness associated with System GMM and Seo and Shin (2016) dynamic panel data with threshold effect. (See Windmeijer, F. 2005; Bun and Kleibergen, 2010).

    Equations were not properly numbered, equation should be numbered according to the section in which they appeared. For example, equation 1 on page 6 should be numbered as equation 2.1. This style of numbering should also be applied to all tables. In addition, tables were also not properly labelled. For instance in table 5 & 6, statistics were provided without indicating what values they represent (coefficients or t-values).

    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment. The tables have been corrected to reflect your comments sir.

    Results: Are results presented clearly and analysed appropriately? Do the conclusions adequately tie together the other elements of the paper?: The presentation and analysis of results are fairly okay. This is because , empirical variables lack clear specification so it is constantly confusing what the dataset really is. The specification of the variables included in the model is also not clear, leading to confused messages.

    For instance, it is strange to see LGOV (Government Expenditure) appearing in the empirical results, the variable has never been measured or defined anywhere in the paper.

    Reply: Thank you sir for your comment. This has been corrected sir. Please see section on Data and Methodology.

    Variables definitions and measurements is another issue. The use of investment profile as a component of political institution (INS3) without a source seems to be strange. Author should be aware that investment profile is made up of three sub components (contract viability, Profits repatriation and payments delays) as defined by PRS Group. In what way can one likened all the three sub-components to political institution. Based on the above, there is likely problem of measurement errors in the study. Considering the objective of the study which aims at establishing hierarchy of institution, the way and manner variables are measured is highly important in order to avoid wrong inferences.

    Also, the discussions on page 13 contradicts their presentation of the model in equation 5. It seems that the author(s) have simultaneously included in their estimates, variables depicting corruption and bureaucratic quality – variable INS2 and variable INS1 that captures only economic institution. There is a clear multi-collinearity which author(s) have identified as shortcoming associated with existing studies, this should be dealt with.

    Reply: Thank you sir for this comment. However, we argue that although INS1 and INS2 measures economic institution but there is no case of multi-collinearity as revealed by the correlation matrix. The correlation matrix shows a correlation coefficient of 0.40 which is less than 50 percent. Likewise, INS1 and INS2 measures different dimensions of economic institutions. Also, in defining INS 3, we follow Slesman et al. (2015) who argue that investment profile is a component of political institution since political interest can greatly influence contract viability and profits repatriation.

    AUTHORS COMMENT. Thank you sir(s) for the quality review and comments. Our study has greatly benefit from the comments. We have effected all the corrections suggested. If there are further suggestions, we will be glad to effect same.



    Cite this author response
  • pre-publication peer review (ROUND 1)
    Decision Letter
    2019/11/25

    25-Nov-2019

    Dear Mr. Olaoye:

    Manuscript ID IJSE-10-2019-0630 entitled "Institutional Infrastructure and Economic Growth in ECOWAS: An investigation into hierarchy of institution hypothesis (HIH)" which you submitted to the International Journal of Social Economics, has been reviewed. The comments of the reviewer(s) are included at the bottom of this letter.

    The reviewer(s) have recommended major revisions to the submitted manuscript, before it can be considered for publication. Therefore, I invite you to respond to the reviewer(s)' comments and revise your manuscript.

    To revise your manuscript, log into https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ijsec and enter your Author Centre, where you will find your manuscript title listed under "Manuscripts with Decisions." Under "Actions," click on "Create a Revision." Your manuscript number has been appended to denote a revision.

    You will be unable to make your revisions on the originally submitted version of the manuscript. Instead, revise your manuscript using a word processing program and save it on your computer. Please also highlight the changes to your manuscript within the document by using the track changes mode in MS Word or by using bold or coloured text.

    Once the revised manuscript is prepared, you can upload it and submit it through your Author Centre. The deadline for uploading a revised manuscript is 25-Jan-2020 from receiving this email. If it is not possible for you to resubmit your revision within this timeframe, we may have to consider your paper as a new submission.

    When submitting your revised manuscript, you will be able to respond to the comments made by the reviewer(s) in the space provided. You can use this space to document any changes you make to the original manuscript. In order to expedite the processing of the revised manuscript, please be as specific as possible in your response to the reviewer(s).

    IMPORTANT: Your original files are available to you when you upload your revised manuscript. Please delete any redundant files before completing the submission.

    Please note that Emerald requires you to clear permission to re-use any material not created by you. If there are permissions outstanding, please send these to Emerald as soon as possible. Emerald is unable to publish your paper with permissions outstanding.

    Once again, thank you for submitting your manuscript to the International Journal of Social Economics and I look forward to receiving your revision.

    Sincerely,
    Dr. Richard Woodward
    Editor, International Journal of Social Economics
    ac0956@coventry.ac.uk

    Reviewer(s)' Comments to Author:
    Reviewer: 1

    Recommendation: Major Revision

    Comments:
    This manuscript as potential. It is absolutely essential to address all the issues raised. Pay careful attention to the observations about methodology, results, and relation to the literature. Once you address these issues I think you have a very solid paper that could be a meaningful contribution to the research. It needs a great deal of work however, much of it is at the conceptualization of your work and the discussion and conclusions about the work. I would like to reiterate it would be interesting if your data were to indicate some sort of political or economic contagion across country or institutional boundaries. If it doesn't happen however, you cannot force it. That said there are numerous examples of people using spatial dependency statistics especially in the economic planning literature. Good luck.

    Additional Questions:
    Originality: Does the paper contain new and significant information adequate to justify publication?: The methodology is novel. However, in its current stage of development it does not justify publication however. With some revision, editing, and development this could be really solid work.

    Relationship to Literature: Does the paper demonstrate an adequate understanding of the relevant literature in the field and cite an appropriate range of literature sources? Is any significant work ignored?: The coverage of institutions is a bit off on page three I recommend using:

    Nishi, H. (2010). Institutional Hierarchy Hypothesis, Multilayered Adjustment, and Macroeconomic Performance: A Post-Keynesian Dynamic Approach. Evolutionary and Institutional Economics Review, 7(1), 155-171.

    as a starting definition for what an institution is rather than what they are currently using which is wholly inadequate. This hierarchy of institutions hypothesis appears to be taking a sliver of the overall literature on institutions, then distills it into its most basic, and arguably least useful elements to empirically test of difference between political and economic factors. This is not persuasive. The organizational literature on institutions is massive, and the author or authors have the potential to theoretically link institutional thought to this empirical test. However, that would require the legitimate development of the literature on institutions. I recommend beginning with Powell & Dimaggio (1991) and Scott (1994) and developing a theoretical frame from that as a basis.

    There's some problematic language used on page 18. Specifically, the author(s) conflate rent seeking behavior and greed. There's not an adequate treatment of rent seeking behavior in this paper within the theoretical argument. Therefore, this should be dropped or developed significantly.

    Methodology: Is the paper's argument built on an appropriate base of theory, concepts, or other ideas? Has the research or equivalent intellectual work on which the paper is based been well designed? Are the methods employed appropriate?: In this form, it is under-conceptualized theoretically. I do believe that the attempt to account for spatial dependency is more clever than most and provides some merit. The use of GMM appears appropriate in this case. I remain skeptical about the size of the data set they're using for this analysis. Based on the discussion, the author authors might be facing a problem where the parameters they are estimating exceeds the capacity of the data set. That should be addressed more clearly. The construction of factors needs more work. Specifically, there needs to be some tests of the quality of the factor analysis. That was not apparent.

    Results: Are results presented clearly and analysed appropriately? Do the conclusions adequately tie together the other elements of the paper?: At the end of the discussion, I was expecting some treatment of the spatial dependency across the different areas being observed. I believe capturing that would've made this a much more powerful paper. By adapting spatial dependency as a proxy for institutional contagions could've made this a much more interesting paper.

    Implications for research, practice and/or society: Does the paper identify clearly any implications for research, practice and/or society? Does the paper bridge the gap between theory and practice? How can the research be used in practice (economic and commercial impact), in teaching, to influence public policy, in research (contributing to the body of knowledge)? What is the impact upon society (influencing public attitudes, affecting quality of life)? Are these implications consistent with the findings and conclusions of the paper?: If developed, I believe that this manuscript could provide some useful impacts. I think that that the use of spatial dependency could be promising. I think that the choice of the model is appropriate. However, the paper is under-conceptualized and needs to be developed significantly.

    Quality of Communication: Does the paper clearly express its case, measured against the technical language of the field and the expected knowledge of the journal's readership? Has attention been paid to the clarity of expression and readability, such as sentence structure, jargon use, acronyms, etc.: This manuscript might be a little bit too sophisticated methodologically for some readers. However, if the recommendations made are undertaken in good faith I believe that this could provide the basis for some more consideration of topics in the region. With work, this has the potential to break out of the simplistic case studies of corruption papers that tend to emerge from west African regions and produce some interesting research both immediately and in the future.

    Reproducible Research: If appropriate, is sufficient information, potentially including data and software, provided to reproduce the results and are the corresponding datasets formally cited?: Not applicable

    This journal is participating in Publons Transparent Peer Review. By reviewing for this journal, you agree that your finished report, along with the author’s responses and the Editor’s decision letter, will be linked to from the published article to where they appear on Publons, if the paper is accepted. If you have any concerns about participating in the Transparent Peer Review pilot, please reach out to the journal’s Editorial office. Please indicate below, whether you would like your name to appear with your report on Publons by indicating yes or no.: No, I would not like my name to appear with my report on Publons

    Reviewer: 2

    Recommendation: Major Revision

    Comments:
    This research is a good attempt.
    It would be better if you include a theoretical framework made by your good-self in the form of flow chart, that might explain the linkage among the variables used in this study.
    A macro panel data approach would be more appropriate. Because based on this, more sophisticated econometric techniques (addressing the issue of cross sectional dependence) like CCEMG & AMG can be used for more reliable results.

    Additional Questions:
    Originality: Does the paper contain new and significant information adequate to justify publication?: This research paper does not contain any new information / or highlight any significant phenomenon. Therefore, this research paper seems inadequate for publication.

    Relationship to Literature: Does the paper demonstrate an adequate understanding of the relevant literature in the field and cite an appropriate range of literature sources? Is any significant work ignored?: An adequate understanding of relevant literature has been depicted in the paper.

    Methodology: Is the paper's argument built on an appropriate base of theory, concepts, or other ideas? Has the research or equivalent intellectual work on which the paper is based been well designed? Are the methods employed appropriate?: This paper lacks in argument building. It would have been more appropriate, if the author had made a theoretical framework in the form of flow chart to simplify / explain the linkage among the variables used in the analysis.
    In this paper, author has used a time period i.e.2005-2017. A macro panel approach might have been more suitable.

    Results: Are results presented clearly and analysed appropriately? Do the conclusions adequately tie together the other elements of the paper?: average

    Implications for research, practice and/or society: Does the paper identify clearly any implications for research, practice and/or society? Does the paper bridge the gap between theory and practice? How can the research be used in practice (economic and commercial impact), in teaching, to influence public policy, in research (contributing to the body of knowledge)? What is the impact upon society (influencing public attitudes, affecting quality of life)? Are these implications consistent with the findings and conclusions of the paper?: This paper lacks in framing policy recommendations.

    Quality of Communication: Does the paper clearly express its case, measured against the technical language of the field and the expected knowledge of the journal's readership? Has attention been paid to the clarity of expression and readability, such as sentence structure, jargon use, acronyms, etc.: good

    Reproducible Research: If appropriate, is sufficient information, potentially including data and software, provided to reproduce the results and are the corresponding datasets formally cited?:

    This journal is participating in Publons Transparent Peer Review. By reviewing for this journal, you agree that your finished report, along with the author’s responses and the Editor’s decision letter, will be linked to from the published article to where they appear on Publons, if the paper is accepted. If you have any concerns about participating in the Transparent Peer Review pilot, please reach out to the journal’s Editorial office. Please indicate below, whether you would like your name to appear with your report on Publons by indicating yes or no.: Yes, I would like my name to appear with my report on Publons

    Reviewer: 3

    Recommendation: Major Revision

    Comments:
    The paper tries to explore the relationship between institution and economic growth in Africa and the hierarchy of institutions. The paper is generally interesting, however, the theoretical foundation should be clearly and adequately explained. Also, key words should be clearly conceptualized and a clear definition and measurement of some variables should be provided. Most importantly, human capital should be captured in the model for a proper specification of Cobb-Douglas production function.

    Additional Questions:
    Originality: Does the paper contain new and significant information adequate to justify publication?: Yes, the topic of the study can be interested to wider audience as several relevant and current papers that deal with the topic of institution and its impact on growth are included in the literature review. The paper also departs from existing literature by accounting for cross-section dependency and cross-country heterogeneity common with most empirical modellings.

    Relationship to Literature: Does the paper demonstrate an adequate understanding of the relevant literature in the field and cite an appropriate range of literature sources? Is any significant work ignored?: Yes to a certain extent. In section 1.0, author used the word “several” but cited a single author as example. It is expected that when the word "several" is used, more than one author is to be cited. Further in introduction section, page 4 last paragraph, author attempts to establish methodological gaps in the existing studies but failed to cite some of these studies that have failed to address the issue of endogeneity.

    Author(s) also list papers with the key words in the title of their paper, they fail to explain the connection to their own research and detail explanation of the findings of these papers. For instance, on page 3, 1st paragraph line 10, several papers were cited without providing their findings in order to show how related the papers are to the present study.

    Another major problems with the study is the inability of the author to conceptualized “Institutional infrastructure” which appear in the title of the study as a key word. Throughout the paper the word “Institutional Infrastructure” only appear twice (on page 2, 2nd paragraph and on page 6, section 2.0) it seems as if the word was smuggled into the study

    Methodology: Is the paper's argument built on an appropriate base of theory, concepts, or other ideas? Has the research or equivalent intellectual work on which the paper is based been well designed? Are the methods employed appropriate?: The paper's argument is built on an appropriate methods and theory but the theory has not been well explained. In section one, the link between various types of institution and their impact on growth is explained poorly and sloppy. Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson (2005) provide a schematic explanation of the hierarchy of institutions. Author attempts using this as theoretical foundation for the study but this was briefly discussed. A framework should be developed to clearly show the hierarchy of institutions and direction of causality (flow of relationship/impact between the various types of institution and economic growth.
    On page 3, 1st paragraph, author conceptualized institution as government policies protecting property rights, this seems strange in Institutional Economics. North (1990) conceptualized institution as rule of the game which defines who get what? Author should be aware that institution can be formal or informal (cultural institutions) and goes beyond issues of policy.

    Another major problems with the study is the inability of the author to conceptualized “Institutional infrastructure” which appear in the title of the study as a key word. Throughout the paper the word “Institutional Infrastructure” only appear twice (on page 2, 2nd paragraph and on page 6, section 2.0) it seems as if the word was smuggled into the study. Also, how was the institutional infrastructure measured or proxy? The use of economic and political institutions and their proxies as a measure of institutions is a common practice. Therefore, using types of institution as proxy for institutional infrastructure add no value to the existing literature. In sum, institutional infrastructure needs to be conceptualized and measured appropriately in order to be properly situated within the scope of the study.

    Also, there may be problems of omitted variables. Author(s) mention that they rely on Cobb-Douglas production model with capital and labor as traditional growth variables. Yet, author went ahead to estimates a model with capital (Gross Capital Formation) as the only traditional growth variable omitting human capital entirely in a model accounting for growth in Africa. Therefore, author(s) don’t take into consideration country-level idiosyncrasies of the linkage between institution and growth for the case of Africa, where level of technology development is acknowledged to be low and overly dependence on labour. So, writing about institutions and growth and their connection in Africa, without considering the impact of human capital, can lead to false conclusions. Author(s) should consider including human capital as a regressor, this might change the whole story. It should be noted that economic institution (labor law) goes a long way in determining production relation and hence productivity and growth.

    The strengths of various techniques adopted in the study have been clearly explained by the author, but it is equally important to identify some of the weakness associated with System GMM and Seo and Shin (2016) dynamic panel data with threshold effect. (See Windmeijer, F. 2005; Bun and Kleibergen, 2010).

    Equations were not properly numbered, equation should be numbered according to the section in which they appeared. For example, equation 1 on page 6 should be numbered as equation 2.1. This style of numbering should also be applied to all tables. In addition, tables were also not properly labelled. For instance in table 5 & 6, statistics were provided without indicating what values they represent (coefficients or t-values).

    Results: Are results presented clearly and analysed appropriately? Do the conclusions adequately tie together the other elements of the paper?: The presentation and analysis of results are fairly okay. This is because , empirical variables lack clear specification so it is constantly confusing what the dataset really is. The specification of the variables included in the model is also not clear, leading to confused messages.

    For instance, it is strange to see LGOV (Government Expenditure) appearing in the empirical results, the variable has never been measured or defined anywhere in the paper.

    Variables definitions and measurements is another issue. The use of investment profile as a component of political institution (INS3) without a source seems to be strange. Author should be aware that investment profile is made up of three sub components (contract viability, Profits repatriation and payments delays) as defined by PRS Group. In what way can one likened all the three sub-components to political institution. Based on the above, there is likely problem of measurement errors in the study. Considering the objective of the study which aims at establishing hierarchy of institution, the way and manner variables are measured is highly important in order to avoid wrong inferences.

    Also, the discussions on page 13 contradicts their presentation of the model in equation 5. It seems that the author(s) have simultaneously included in their estimates, variables depicting corruption and bureaucratic quality – variable INS2 and variable INS1 that captures only economic institution. There is a clear multi-collinearity which author(s) have identified as shortcoming associated with existing studies, this should be dealt with.

    Implications for research, practice and/or society: Does the paper identify clearly any implications for research, practice and/or society? Does the paper bridge the gap between theory and practice? How can the research be used in practice (economic and commercial impact), in teaching, to influence public policy, in research (contributing to the body of knowledge)? What is the impact upon society (influencing public attitudes, affecting quality of life)? Are these implications consistent with the findings and conclusions of the paper?: Yes, the paper has the potentials of bridging the gap between theory and practice if all the identified problems are adequately addressed. The research can be used in teaching and public policy as it is an attempt to establish aspects of institutions that leads in institution and growth nexus.

    The implication is fairly consistent with findings.

    Quality of Communication: Does the paper clearly express its case, measured against the technical language of the field and the expected knowledge of the journal's readership? Has attention been paid to the clarity of expression and readability, such as sentence structure, jargon use, acronyms, etc.: Fair, minor concern is also English language and imprecise references (for example, World Development Indicators, 2018, link and date of download were not provided). Some authors were listed but not cited (Seo M. H. and Shin Y., 2014; Seo M. H. & Linton O., 2007 etc.) while others were wrongly cited using et al for three authors when appearing for the first time. (Kremer et al. 2013). See also Islam N., (1995) for wrong referencing.

    Reproducible Research: If appropriate, is sufficient information, potentially including data and software, provided to reproduce the results and are the corresponding datasets formally cited?: No, data were not provided, software used for the estimation not indicated and the some variables were not clearly defined and measured making it difficult for the research to reproducible.

    This journal is participating in Publons Transparent Peer Review. By reviewing for this journal, you agree that your finished report, along with the author’s responses and the Editor’s decision letter, will be linked to from the published article to where they appear on Publons, if the paper is accepted. If you have any concerns about participating in the Transparent Peer Review pilot, please reach out to the journal’s Editorial office. Please indicate below, whether you would like your name to appear with your report on Publons by indicating yes or no.: Yes, I would like my name to appear with my report on Publons

    Decision letter by
    Cite this decision letter
    Reviewer report
    2019/11/24

    The paper tries to explore the relationship between institution and economic growth in Africa and the hierarchy of institutions. The paper is generally interesting, however, the theoretical foundation should be clearly and adequately explained. Also, key words should be clearly conceptualized and a clear definition and measurement of some variables should be provided. Most importantly, human capital should be captured in the model for a proper specification of Cobb-Douglas production function.

    Cite this review
    Reviewer report
    2019/11/24

    This research is a good attempt.
    It would be better if you include a theoretical framework made by your good-self in the form of flow chart, that might explain the linkage among the variables used in this study.
    A macro panel data approach would be more appropriate. Because based on this, more sophisticated econometric techniques (addressing the issue of cross sectional dependence) like CCEMG & AMG can be used for more reliable results.

    Reviewed by
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    Reviewer report
    2019/11/14

    This manuscript as potential. It is absolutely essential to address all the issues raised. Pay careful attention to the observations about methodology, results, and relation to the literature. Once you address these issues I think you have a very solid paper that could be a meaningful contribution to the research. It needs a great deal of work however, much of it is at the conceptualization of your work and the discussion and conclusions about the work. I would like to reiterate it would be interesting if your data were to indicate some sort of political or economic contagion across country or institutional boundaries. If it doesn't happen however, you cannot force it. That said there are numerous examples of people using spatial dependency statistics especially in the economic planning literature. Good luck.

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