Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2183027
 
 

References (129)



 
 

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Colonialism and Economic Development in Africa


Leander Heldring


University of Oxford - Department of Economics

James A. Robinson


Harvard University - Department of Government; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

November 2012

NBER Working Paper No. w18566

Abstract:     
In this paper we evaluate the impact of colonialism on development in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the world context, colonialism had very heterogeneous effects, operating through many mechanisms, sometimes encouraging development sometimes retarding it. In the African case, however, this heterogeneity is muted, making an assessment of the average effect more interesting. We emphasize that to draw conclusions it is necessary not just to know what actually happened to development during the colonial period, but also to take a view on what might have happened without colonialism and also to take into account the legacy of colonialism. We argue that in the light of plausible counter-factuals, colonialism probably had a uniformly negative effect on development in Africa. To develop this claim we distinguish between three sorts of colonies: (1) those which coincided with a pre-colonial centralized state, (2) those of white settlement, (3) the rest. Each have distinct performance within the colonial period, different counter-factuals and varied legacies.

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Number of Pages in PDF File: 40

working papers series


Date posted: November 30, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Heldring, Leander and Robinson, James A., Colonialism and Economic Development in Africa (November 2012). NBER Working Paper No. w18566. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2183027

Contact Information

Leander Heldring (Contact Author)
University of Oxford - Department of Economics ( email )
Manor Road Building
Manor Road
Oxford, OX1 3BJ
United Kingdom
James A. Robinson
Harvard University - Department of Government ( email )
1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-2839 (Phone)
617-495-8292 (Fax)
Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
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