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The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades

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  • Nathan Nunn

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 To explore this question, I use data from shipping records and historical documents reporting slave ethnicities to construct estimates of the number of slaves exported from each country during Africa's slave trades.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 have had an adverse effect on economic development.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13367.

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Date of creation: Sep 2007
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Publication status: published as Nathan Nunn, 2008. "The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(1), pages 139-176, 02.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13367

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  1. Sambit Bhattacharyya, 2008. "Root Causes of African Underdevelopment," Departmental Working Papers, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics 2008-16, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
  2. William Easterly & Jozef Ritzen & Michael Woolcock, 2006. "Social Cohesion, Institutions, And Growth," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(2), pages 103-120, 07.
  3. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-79, April.
  4. Bertocchi, Graziella & Canova, Fabio, 1996. "Did Colonization Matter for Growth? An Empirical Exploration into the Historical Causes of Africa's Underdevelopment," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 1444, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. 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, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 287-91, May.
  6. Louis Putterman & Valerie Bockstette, 2000. "States and Markets:the Advantage of an Early Start," Working Papers 2000-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  7. 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.
  8. Mitchener, Kris James & McLean, Ian W, 2003. " The Productivity of US States since 1880," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 73-114, March.
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Blog mentions

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