Is There a Long-Term Effect of Africa's Slave Trades?

49 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2013

See all articles by Margherita Bottero

Margherita Bottero

Bank of Italy

Björn Wallace

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Economics and Politics

Date Written: April 26, 2013

Abstract

Nunn (2008) found a negative relationship between past slave exports and economic performance within Africa. Here we investigate these findings and the suggested causal pathway in further detail. Extending the sample period back in time we reveal that the coefficient on slave exports did not become significantly negative until 1970, and that it was close to zero in 1960. While one potential explanation for this temporal pattern could be decolonization, we analyse other episodes of slave raiding outside Africa, and find evidence that questions the validity of such suggestion. In addition, our reading of the historical and anthropological literature differs from that of Nunn. For instance, taking a global rather than African perspective we find that the African slave trades cannot without difficulties explain the patterns of ethnic fractionalization that we observe today.

Keywords: Africa, economic history, history, slave trade

JEL Classification: N01, N37, N47

Suggested Citation

Bottero, Margherita and Wallace, Björn, Is There a Long-Term Effect of Africa's Slave Trades? (April 26, 2013). Bank of Italy Economic History Working Paper No. 30. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2369290 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2369290

Margherita Bottero (Contact Author)

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184
Italy

Björn Wallace

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Economics and Politics ( email )

Austin Robinson Building
Sidgwick Avenue
Cambridge, CB3 9DD
United Kingdom

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