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Ecology, trade and states in pre-colonial Africa

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  • Fenske, James

Abstract

I test Bates' view that trade across ecological divides promoted the development of states in pre-colonial Africa. My main result is that sub-Saharan societies in ecologically diverse environments had more centralized pre-colonial states. I use spatial variation in rainfall to control for possible endogeneity. I construct artificial societies and present narrative evidence to show the results are not due to conquest of trading regions. I also test mechanisms by which trade may have caused states, and find that trade supported class stratification between rulers and ruled.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 27203.

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Date of creation: Dec 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:27203

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Keywords: Africa; ecology; states; trade;

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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. Osafo-Kwaako, Philip & Robinson, James A., 2013. "Political centralization in pre-colonial Africa," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 6-21.
  2. James Fenske & Namrata Kala, 2012. "Climate, ecosystem resilience and the slave trade," CSAE Working Paper Series 2012-23, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  3. 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.
  4. James Fenske, 2012. "African Polygamy: Past and Present," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2012-20, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  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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