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Pre-Colonial Political Centralization and Contemporary Development in Uganda

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  • Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay and Elliott Green

Abstract

The importance of pre-colonial history on contemporary African development has become an important field of study within development economics in recent years. In particular (Gennaioli & Rainer, 2007) suggest that pre-colonial political centralization has had an impact on contemporary levels of development within Africa at the country level. We test the (Gennaioli & Rainer, 2007) hypothesis at the sub-national level for the first time with evidence from Uganda. Using a variety of datasets we obtain results which are striking in two ways. First, we confirm the (Gennaioli & Rainer, 2007) hypothesis that pre-colonial centralization is highly correlated with modern-day development outcomes such as GDP, asset ownership and poverty levels, and that these correlations hold at the district, sub-county and individual levels. We also use an instrumental variable approach to confirm this finding using the distance from ancient capital of Mubende as an instrument. However, our second finding is that public goods like immunization coverage and primary school enrolment are not correlated with pre-colonial centralization. These findings are thus consistent with a correlation between pre-colonial centralization and private rather than public goods, thereby suggesting the persistence of poverty and wealth from the pre-colonial period to the present.

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Paper provided by Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research in its series Working Papers with number 39.

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Date of creation: Nov 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cgs:wpaper:39

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Keywords: Pre-colonial Political Centralization; Development; Uganda;

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  1. Francisco Gallego & Miriam Bruhn, 2009. "Good, Bad and Ugly Colonial Activities: Do They Matter for Economic Development?," Working Papers ClioLab, EH Clio Lab. Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile 6, EH Clio Lab. Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
  2. Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay & Elliott Green, 2010. "The Reversal of Fortune Thesis Reconsidered," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE 016, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  3. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2012. "Pre-colonial Ethnic Institutions and Contemporary African Development," NBER Working Papers 18224, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal Of Fortune: Geography And Institutions In The Making Of The Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294, November.
  5. Louis Putterman & Valerie Bockstette, 2000. "States and Markets:the Advantage of an Early Start," Working Papers 2000-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  6. Nathan Nunn, 2009. "The Importance of History for Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 14899, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  8. Nathan Nunn & Leonard Wantchekon, 2009. "The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa," NBER Working Papers 14783, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Nicola Gennaioli & Ilia Rainer, 2007. "The modern impact of precolonial centralization in Africa," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 185-234, September.
  10. Huillery, Elise, 2011. "The Impact of European Settlement within French West Africa. Did pre-colonial prosperous areas fall behind?," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine, Paris Dauphine University 123456789/4316, Paris Dauphine University.
  11. Jonas Hjort, 2010. "Pre-colonial culture, post-colonial economic success? The Tswana and the African economic miracle," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, Economic History Society, vol. 63(3), pages 688-709, 08.
  12. Elise Huillery, 2010. "The Impact of European Settlement within French West Africa," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/c8dmi8nm4pd, Sciences Po.
  13. Jha, Saumitra, 2008. "Trade, Institutions and Religious Tolerance: Evidence from India," Research Papers, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business 2004, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  14. Ritva Reinikka & Jakob Svensson, 2004. "Local Capture: Evidence From a Central Government Transfer Program in Uganda," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 678-704, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Daron Acemoglu & Isaías N. Chaves & Philip Osafo-Kwaako & James A. Robinson, 2014. "Indirect Rule and State Weakness in Africa: Sierra Leone in Comparative Perspective," NBER Working Papers 20092, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Camilo García-Jimeno & James A. Robinson, 2014. "State Capacity and Economic Development: A Network Approach," NBER Working Papers 19813, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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