The French Curse? On the Puzzling Economic Consequences of French Colonization

17 Pages Posted: 16 May 2019

See all articles by Andreas Bergh

Andreas Bergh

Lund University - Department of Economics; Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)

Gunther Fink

University of Basel - Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute

Date Written: September 25, 2018

Abstract

More than 50 years after independence, the majority of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa remain poor with limited rates of economic growth. One of the most striking features of economic development on the sub-Saharan subcontinent is the remarkably poor performance of French colonies relative to British ones. While British and French colonies had similar GDP per capita shortly after independence, their economic trajectories have increasingly diverged, with particularly large gaps in the post-2000 period. Neither measures of human capital, geography nor measures of institutional quality appear to explain this gap, suggesting that colonialism affected deeper societal factors that are crucial for economic growth but that are not captured in standard macroeconomic variables.

Keywords: growth, development, colonies, institutions

JEL Classification: F63, O43, F54

Suggested Citation

Bergh, Andreas and Bergh, Andreas and Fink, Gunther, The French Curse? On the Puzzling Economic Consequences of French Colonization (September 25, 2018). IFN Working 1234, 2018 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3373314

Andreas Bergh (Contact Author)

Lund University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7082
S-220 07
Lund
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.nek.lu.se/

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
Grevgatan 34 2nd floor
Stockholm, SE-102 15
Sweden
0707790734 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ifn.se/web/AndreasB

Gunther Fink

University of Basel - Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute ( email )

Basel
Switzerland

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