Echoes of Colonial Repression: The Long-Term Effects of the 1947 Revolt upon Political Attitudes in Madagascar
Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 16 Aug 2013
Date Written: 2011
The repression of the 1947 Madagascar revolt has been regarded as one of the bloodiest episodes in the history of Colonial Africa. While some historians and anthropologists claim the brutality of this event has traumatized the population in significant ways, no systematic evidence has been provided to date to support these hypotheses. In this article, we undertake an empirical strategy that combines recent individual-level survey data with geographic and ethnographic information about the rebellion to estimate the long-term effects of this event upon current self-reported levels of freedom of expression. Applying two different matching methods and a regression discontinuity design that exploits plausible exogenous variation in exposure to the rebellion generated by a mountain range, we find a negative treatment effect. The results are robust to controls for individual characteristics and a host of district-level variables such as rainfall, temperature, elevation, land area, and distance to the nearest industrial town.
Keywords: Historical Legacies, Colonialism, Political Behavior, African Politics
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