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Ecology, Trade and States in Pre-Colonial Africa

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  • James Fenske

Abstract

State capacity matters for growth.� I test Bates' explanation of pre-colonial African states.� He argues that trade across ecological boundaries promoted states.� I find that African societies in ecologically diverse environments had more centralized states.� This is robust to reverse causation, omitted heterogeneity, and alternative interpretations of the link between diversity and states.� Ecological diversity also predicts states outside of Africa.� I test mechanisms connecting trade to states, and find that trade supported class stratification between rulers and ruled.� I underscore the importance of ethnic institutions and inform our knowledge of the effects of geography and trade on institutions.

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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number WPF/2012-18.

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Date of creation: 05 Nov 2012
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:wpf/2012-18

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  1. New historical development papers on my desk
    by Robin in Cherokee Gothic on 2013-04-18 13:00:05
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Cited by:
  1. Fenske, James, 2012. "African polygamy: Past and present," MPRA Paper 41618, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Osafo-Kwaako, Philip & Robinson, James A., 2013. "Political centralization in pre-colonial Africa," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 6-21.
  3. Fenske, James & Kala, Namrata, 2013. "Climate, ecosystem resilience and the slave trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 9449, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Joram Mayshar & Omer Moav & Zvika Neeman, 2011. "Transparency, Appropriability and the Early State," Working Papers 002-11, International School of Economics at TSU, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia.
  5. Philip Osafo-Kwaako & James A. Robinson, 2013. "Political Centralization in Pre-Colonial Africa," NBER Working Papers 18770, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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