The Legacy of Historical Conflict: Evidence from Africa

34 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2012

See all articles by Timothy J. Besley

Timothy J. Besley

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Marta Reynal-Querol

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences; World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Date Written: February 2012

Abstract

There is a great deal of interest in the causes and consequences of conflict in Africa, one of the poorest areas of the world where only modest economic progess has been made. This paper asks whether post-colonial conflict is, at least in part, a legacy of historical conflict by examining the empirical relationship between conflict in Africa since independence with recorded conflicts in the period 1400 to1700. We find evidence of a legacy of historical conflicts using between- country and within-country evidence. The latter is found by dividing the continent into 120kmm-20km grids and measuring the distance from 91 documented historical conflicts.We also provide evidence that historical conflict is correlated with lower levels of trust, a stronger sense of ethnic identity and a weaker sense of national identity.

Keywords: conflict, identity, trust

JEL Classification: N47, O43, O55

Suggested Citation

Besley, Timothy J. and Reynal-Querol, Marta, The Legacy of Historical Conflict: Evidence from Africa (February 2012). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP8850. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2013843

Timothy J. Besley (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Marta Reynal-Querol

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences ( email )

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World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

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