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Root Causes of African Underdevelopment

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  • Sambit Bhattacharyya

Abstract

What are the root causes of Africa's current state of under-development? Is it the long history of slave trade, the legacy of extractive colonial institutions, or the fallout of malaria? We investigate the relative contributions of these factors using Atlantic distance, Indian Ocean distance, Saharan distance, Red Sea distance, log settler mortality and malaria ecology as instruments. The results show that malaria matters the most and all other factors are statistically insignificant. Malaria also negatively affects savings. The results are robust even when the malaria ecology instrument is replaced by frost, humidity and rainfall and when the latter are used as additional control variables. We find that frost alone is enough to knock off the effects of slave trade and institutions on long-term development in Africa. Copyright 2009 The author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Centre for the Study of African Economies. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) in its journal Journal of African Economies.

Volume (Year): 18 (2009)
Issue (Month): 5 (November)
Pages: 745-780

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jafrec:v:18:y:2009:i:5:p:745-780

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Fabrizio Carmignani & Abdur Chowdhury, 2012. "The Geographical Dimension of the Development Effects of Natural Resources," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 52(4), pages 479-498, August.
  2. Bertocchi, Graziella & Guerzoni, Andrea, 2010. "Growth, History, or Institutions? What Explains State Fragility in Sub-Saharan Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 4817, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Augustin Kwasi Fosu, 2012. "Growth of African Economies: Productivity, Policy Syndromes and the Importance of Institutions," CSAE Working Paper Series 2012-11, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  4. Kodila-Tedika, Oasis, 2014. "Education, paludisme et moustiquaires imprégnées d'insecticide en Afrique sub-saharienne," MPRA Paper 55913, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Thomas K.J. McDermott, 2013. "Reconciling conflicting evidence on the origins of comparative development: A finite mixture model approach," Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Papers 130, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
  6. Rodolfo E. Manuelli, 2011. "Disease and Development: The Role of Human Capital," 2011 Meeting Papers 605, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Nunn, Nathan, 2007. "The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades," MPRA Paper 4134, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Rodolfo Manuelli, 2011. "Disease and Development: The Role of Human Capital," Working Papers 2011-008, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  9. Gabriel Picone & Robyn Kibler & Benedicte Apouey, 2013. "Individuals’ Preventive Behavioral Response to Changes in Malaria Risks and Government Interventions: Evidence from six African countries," Working Papers 0313, University of South Florida, Department of Economics.
  10. Bhattacharyya, Sambit, 2012. "Trade liberalization and institutional development," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 253-269.
  11. Fabrizio Carmignani & Abdur Chowdhury, 2011. "The Development Effects Of Natural Resources: A Geographical Dimension," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp1022, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  12. Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay & Elliott D. Green, 2010. "The reversal of fortune thesis reconsidered," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 41260, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  13. Margherita Bottero & Björn Wallace, 2013. "Is There a Long-Term Effect of Africa's Slave Trades?," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 30, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

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