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The Impact of European Settlement within French West Africa. Did pre-colonial prosperous areas fall behind?

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  • Elise Huillery

    ()
    (Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques (PSE), DIAL, Paris)

Abstract

(english) Did colonization change the distribution of prosperity within French-speaking West Africa? Using a new database on both pre-colonial and colonial contexts, this paper gives evidence that Europeans tended to settle in more prosperous pre-colonial areas and that the European settlement had a strong positive impact on current outcomes, even in an extractive colonial context, resulting in a positive relationship between pre and post-colonial performances. I argue that the African hostility towards colonial power to colonisation provides a random variation in European settlement since it damaged the profitability of colonial activities and dissuaded European from settling, but does not have a direct effect on current outcomes. Rich and hostile areas received less European settlers than they would have received had they not been so hostile, resulting in lower current performances partly due to lower colonial investments. Despite the absence of a “reversal of fortune” within former French West Africa, some of the most prosperous pre-colonial areas lost their advantage because of their hostility: other areas caught up and became the new leaders in the region. _________________________________ (français)

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation) in its series Working Papers with number DT/2008/01.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt200801

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Keywords: Colonization; Economic history; West Africa.;

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  1. Nunn, Nathan, 2008. "The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades," Scholarly Articles 3710252, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Banerjee, Abhijit & Iyer, Lakshmi & Somanathan, Rohini, 2008. "Public Action for Public Goods," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
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  7. Stanley L. Engerman & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 2005. "Colonialism, Inequality, and Long-Run Paths of Development," NBER Working Papers 11057, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2005. "Unbundling Institutions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 949-995, October.
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  10. Elise Huillery, 2009. "History Matters: The Long-Term Impact of Colonial Public Investments in French West Africa," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 176-215, April.
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Cited by:
  1. James Fenske, 2012. "Ecology, trade and states in pre-colonial Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series 2012-18, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  2. Fenske, James, 2010. "Institutions in African history and development: A review essay," MPRA Paper 23120, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Jean Cartier-Bresson, 2013. "Le pouvoir du positivisme et ses limites : microéconométrie et macroéconométrie actuelles du développement," Working Papers hal-00847005, HAL.
  4. Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay & Elliott Green, 2012. "Pre-Colonial Political Centralization and Contemporary Development in Uganda," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 039, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  5. Nunn, Nathan, 2014. "Historical Development," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 7, pages 347-402 Elsevier.
  6. 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.

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