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The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades

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  • Nathan Nunn

    (Harvard University and National Bureau of Economic Research)

Abstract

Can part of Africa's current underdevelopment be explained by its slave trades? To explore this question, I use data from shipping records and historical documents reporting slave ethnicities to construct estimates of the number of slaves exported from each country during Africa's slave trades. I find a robust negative relationship between the number of slaves exported from a country and current economic performance. To better understand if the relationship is causal, I examine the historical evidence on selection into the slave trades and use instrumental variables. Together the evidence suggests that the slave trades had an adverse effect on economic development. (c) 2008 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology..

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 123 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (02)
Pages: 139-176

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:123:y:2008:i:1:p:139-176

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  1. Bertocchi, Graziella & Canova, Fabio, 1996. "Did Colonization Matter for Growth? An Empirical Exploration into the Historical Causes of Africa's Underdevelopment," CEPR Discussion Papers 1444, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Sambit Bhattacharyya, 2009. "Root Causes of African Underdevelopment," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 18(5), pages 745-780, November.
  3. James D. Fearon & Macartan Humphreys & Jeremy M. Weinstein, 2009. "Can Development Aid Contribute to Social Cohesion after Civil War? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Post-conflict Liberia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 287-91, May.
  4. Bockstette, Valerie & Chanda, Areendam & Putterman, Louis, 2002. " States and Markets: The Advantage of an Early Start," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 347-69, December.
  5. Nicola Gennaioli & Ilia Rainer, 2007. "The modern impact of precolonial centralization in Africa," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 185-234, September.
  6. Kris James Mitchener & Ian W. McLean, 2003. "The Productivity of U.S. States Since 1880," NBER Working Papers 9445, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. William Easterly & Jozef Ritzan & Michael Woolcock, 2006. "Social Cohesion, Institutions, and Growth," Working Papers 94, Center for Global Development.
  8. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "The Quality of Government," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1847, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. The legacy of slavery
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2009-03-17 11:59:00
  2. The long term effect of slavery on Africa
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2008-02-09 07:08:00
  3. Slavenomics
    by Johan Fourie in Johan Fourie's Blog on 2012-03-19 18:36:30
  4. Slavenomics
    by Johan Fourie in Johan Fourie's Blog on 2012-03-19 18:36:30
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