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Did colonization matter for growth?: An empirical exploration into the historical causes of Africa's underdevelopment

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  • Bertocchi, Graziella
  • Canova, Fabio

Abstract

This paper investigates the impact of twentieth-century European colonization on African countries. We find that colonization mattered for growth. The following had some beneficial growth effects: being a dependency rather than a colony; being a colony of France or the United Kingdom rather than Belgium, Italy or Portugal; and being less exploited. On average, growth accelerates after independence. Variables proxying for colonial heritage add explanatory power to standard growth regressions, while indicators for human capital and political and ethnic instability lose significance. The coefficient of a dummy for sub-Saharan Africa becomes less significant in a cross section of 98 countries after controlling for colonial experience.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 46 (2002)
Issue (Month): 10 (December)
Pages: 1851-1871

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:46:y:2002:i:10:p:1851-1871

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  1. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
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  12. Romer, Paul M., 1990. "Human capital and growth: Theory and evidence," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 251-286, January.
  13. Paul Collier & Jan Willem Gunning, 1999. "Why Has Africa Grown Slowly?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 3-22, Summer.
  14. Alam, M S, 1994. "Colonialism, Decolonisation and Growth Rates: Theory and Empirical Evidence," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(3), pages 235-57, June.
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  16. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Why Doesn't Capital Flow from Rich to Poor Countries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 92-96, May.
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  18. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Herschel I. Grossman & Murat F. Iyigun, 1995. "The Profitability Of Colonial Investment," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 229-241, November.
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