The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades

41 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2007 Last revised: 11 Jul 2022

See all articles by Nathan Nunn

Nathan Nunn

Harvard University - Department of Economics

Date Written: September 2007

Abstract

Can part of Africa's current underdevelopment be explained by its slave trades? To explore this question, I use data from shipping records and historical documents reporting slave ethnicities to construct estimates of the number of slaves exported from each country during Africa's slave trades. I find a robust negative relationship between the number of slaves exported from a country and current economic performance. To better understand if the relationship is causal, I examine the historical evidence on selection into the slave trades, and use instrumental variables. Together the evidence suggests that the slave trades have had an adverse effect on economic development.

Suggested Citation

Nunn, Nathan, The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades (September 2007). NBER Working Paper No. w13367, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1012821

Nathan Nunn (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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