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The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Local Political Fragmentation in Africa

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  • Nonso Obikili

Abstract

I examine the possibility that the trans-Atlantic slave trades influenced the political institutions of villages and towns in precolonial Africa. Using anthropological data, I show that villages and towns of ethnic groups with higher slave exports were more politically fragmented during the precolonial era. I use instrumental variables to show that the relationship is at least partly causal. I argue this fragmentation is important for relative economic development because it still influences political institutions today. I support this argument by using more contemporary data to show that areas with higher precolonial political fragmentation have a higher incidence of bribery.

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File URL: http://www.econrsa.org/node/824
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economic Research Southern Africa in its series Working Papers with number 406.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:406

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Keywords: Trans-Atlantic; Slave trade; Poltical;

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