Comparing British and French Colonial Legacies: A Discontinuity Analysis of Cameroon
54 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 9 Aug 2011
Date Written: 2011
Colonial institutions are thought to be an important determinate of post-independence levels of political stability, economic growth, and public goods provision. In particular, many scholars have suggested that British institutional and cultural legacies are more conducive to growth than those of France or other colonizers. Systematic tests of this hypothesis are complicated by unobserved heterogeneity among nations due to variable pre- and post-colonial histories. We focus on the West African nation of Cameroon, which includes regions colonized by both Britain and France, and use the artificial former colonial boundary as a discontinuity within a national demographic survey. We show that rural areas on the British side of discontinuity have higher levels of household wealth and local public provision of piped water. Results for urban areas and centrally-provided public goods show no such effect, suggesting that post-independence policies also play a role in shaping outcomes.
Keywords: Colonialism, Institutions
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation