The Colonial Roots of Land Inequality: Geography, Factor Endowments, or Institutions?

34 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2010

Abstract

Land inequality is one of the crucial underpinnings of long-run persistent wealth and asset inequality. This article assesses the colonial roots of land inequality from a comparative perspective. The evolution of land inequality is analysed in a cross-colonial multivariate regression framework complemented by an in-depth comparative case study of three former British colonies: Malaysia, Sierra Leone, and Zambia. The main conclusion is that the literature tends to overemphasize the role of geography and to underestimate the role of pre-colonial institutions in shaping the colonial political economic context in which land is (re)distributed from natives to colonial settlers.

Suggested Citation

Frankema, Ewout, The Colonial Roots of Land Inequality: Geography, Factor Endowments, or Institutions?. The Economic History Review, Vol. 63, Issue 2, pp. 418-451, May 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1579104 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0289.2009.00479.x

Ewout Frankema (Contact Author)

Wageningen UR ( email )

Hollandseweg 1
Wageningen, 6706KN
Netherlands

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