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The Black Man's Burden - The Cost of Colonization of French West Africa

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  • Elise Huillery

    (Département d'économie)

Abstract

Was colonization costly for France? Did French taxpayers contribute to colonies' development? This paper reveals that French West Africa's colonization took only 0.29 percent of French annual expenditures, including 0.24 percent for military and central administration and 0.05 percent for French West Africa's development. For West Africans, the contribution from French taxpayers was almost negligible: mainland France provided about two percent of French West Africa's revenue. In fact, colonization was a considerable burden for African taxpayers since French civil servants' salaries absorbed a disproportionate share of local expenditures.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Sciences Po in its series Sciences Po publications with number info:hdl:2441/7o52iohb7k6srk09na41pc24o.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Economic History (2013) v. , p.-
Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/7o52iohb7k6srk09na41pc24o

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  1. James Foreman-Peck, 1989. "Foreign investment and imperial exploitation: balance of payments reconstruction for nineteenth-century Britain and India," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 42(3), pages 354-374, 08.
  2. Abhijit Banerjee & Lakshmi Iyer, 2005. "History, Institutions, and Economic Performance: The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1190-1213, September.
  3. Elise Huillery, 2009. "History Matters: The Long Term Impact of Colonial Public Investments in French West Africa," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/10262, Sciences Po.
  4. Head, Keith & Mayer, Thierry & Ries, John, 2008. "The Erosion of Colonial Trade Linkages After Independence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6951, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Fitzgerald, Edward Peter, 1988. "Did France's Colonial Empire Make Economic Sense? A Perspective from the Postwar Decade, 1946–1956," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(02), pages 373-385, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Remi Jedwab & Alexander Moradi, 2014. "Transportation Technology and Economic Change: The Impact of Colonial Railroads on City Growth in Africa," Working Papers 2014-03, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.

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