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Confronting colonial legacies-lessons from human development in Ghana and Kenya, 1880-2000

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  • Alexander Moradi

    (Department of Economics, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK)

Abstract

A growing body of scholarly research locates the roots of Africa's poverty in its colonial past. However, studies avoid tracing Africa's development over the full course of history. In this paper, I quantify the changes in well-being of the African population in Ghana and Kenya, at the regional level, during the years 1880-2000. By using body stature as a measure of nutritional status I overcome the scarcity and unreliability of historical data. The two countries had a much more diverse development under colonial times than commonly assumed, with phases of substantial progress (which was also unevenly distributed between the regions). Based on these new findings I confront the existing colonial legacy literature and point to possible lessons that can be drawn from human development over the last 120 years. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of International Development.

Volume (Year): 20 (2008)
Issue (Month): 8 ()
Pages: 1107-1121

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:20:y:2008:i:8:p:1107-1121

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Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/5102/home

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  1. Komlos, John & Baten, Jörg, 2003. "Looking Backward and Looking Forward: Anthropometric Research and the Development of Social Science History," Discussion Papers in Economics 59, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Nunn, Nathan, 2007. "Historical legacies: A model linking Africa's past to its current underdevelopment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 157-175, May.
  3. Grier, Robin M, 1999. " Colonial Legacies and Economic Growth," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 317-35, March.
  4. Thorsten Beck & Asli Demirguc-Kunt & Ross Levine, 2002. "Law, Endowment, and Finance," NBER Working Papers 9089, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Moradi, Alexander & Baten, Joerg, 2005. "Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa: New Data and New Insights from Anthropometric Estimates," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1233-1265, August.
  7. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  8. Smith, Lisa C. & Haddad, Lawrence James, 2000. "Explaining child malnutrition in developing countries: a cross-country analysis," Research reports 111, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  9. Sue Bowden & Blessing Chiripanhura & Paul Mosley, 2008. "Measuring and explaining poverty in six African countries: A long-period approach," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(8), pages 1049-1079.
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Cited by:
  1. Denis Cogneau & Alexander Moradi, 2011. "Borders that Divide: Education and Religion in Ghana and Togo since Colonial Times," Working Paper Series 2911, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
  2. Leandro Prados de la Escosura, 2011. "Human Development in Africa: A Long-Run Perspective," Working Papers 0008, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  3. 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.
  4. Leander Heldring & James A. Robinson, 2012. "Colonialism and Economic Development in Africa," NBER Working Papers 18566, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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