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The Impact of the Transatlantic Slave Trade on Ethnic Stratification in Africa

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  • Warren Whatley
  • Rob Gillezeau

Abstract

In the last 15 years, economists and economic historians have argued that Africa has undergone a "reversal of fortune" and that ethnic fragmentation is a significant cause of Africa's underdevelopment. In this article, we join these narratives by arguing that the transatlantic slave trade increased the degree of ethnic heterogeneity in Africa today. Using both correlational and causal instrumental variables analysis, we find an economically and statistically significant positive relationship between slave exports and ethnic heterogeneity. This relationship is robust to changes in the scheme for drawing ethnic boundaries and the choice of observational unit.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.101.3.571
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 101 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 571-76

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:3:p:571-76

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  1. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-50, November.
  2. Nunn, Nathan, 2008. "The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades," Scholarly Articles 3710252, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Luis Angeles, . "On the causes of the African Slave Trade," Working Papers 2012_15, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  2. Fenske, James & Kala, Namrata, 2013. "Climate, ecosystem resilience and the slave trade," MPRA Paper 50816, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Whatley, Warren, 2012. "The transatlantic slave trade and the evolution of political authority in West Africa," MPRA Paper 44932, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Kodila-Tedika, Oasis, 2013. "Esclavagisme et colonisation : Quelles conséquences contemporaines en Afrique ? - Résumé critique des travaux de l'économiste Nathan Nunn
    [Slavery and colonization: What contemporary consequenc
    ," MPRA Paper 43732, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Whatley, Warren, 2012. "The Gun-Slave Cycle in the 18th century British slave trade in Africa," MPRA Paper 44492, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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