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The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa

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  • Stelios Michalopoulos
  • Elias Papaioannou

Abstract

We examine the long run consequences of the scramble for Africa among European powers in the late 19th century and uncover the following empirical regularities. First using information on the spatial distribution of African ethicities before colonization, we show that borders were arbitrarily drawn. Apart from the land mass and water area of an ethnicity's historical homeland, no other geographic, ecological, historical, and ethnic-specific traits predict which ethnic groups have been partitioned by the national border. Second, using data on the location of civil conflicts after independence, we show that partitioned ethnic groups have suffered significantly more warfare; moreover, partitioned ethnicities have experienced more prolonged and more devastating civil wars. Third, we identify sizeable spill overs; civil conflict spreads from the homeland of partitioned ethnicities to nearby ethnic regions. These results are robust to a rich set of controls at a fine level and the inclusion of country fixed effects and ethnic family fixed effects. The uncovered evidence thus identifies a sizable causal impact of the scramble for Africa on warfare.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Tufts University in its series Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University with number 0762.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:tuf:tuftec:0762

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Keywords: Africa; Borders; Ethnicities; Conflict; Development.;

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  1. Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William & Alesina, Alberto, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," Scholarly Articles 4551797, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2008. "Segregation and the Quality of Government in a Cross-Section of Countries," NBER Working Papers 14316, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bosker, Maarten & de Ree, Joppe, 2014. "Ethnicity and the spread of civil war," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 206-221.
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  6. Stelios Michalopoulos, 2011. "The Origins of Technolinguistic Diversity," Economics Working Papers 0095, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
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  8. Conley, T. G., 1999. "GMM estimation with cross sectional dependence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-45, September.
  9. J. M. C. Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro & Frank Windmeijer, 2010. "Is it different for zeros? Discriminating between models for non-negative data with many zeros," CeMMAP working papers CWP20/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  10. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke & Soderbom, Mans, 2001. "On the duration of civil war," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2681, The World Bank.
  11. Lakshmi Iyer, 2005. "Direct versus Indirect Colonial Rule in India: Long-term Consequences," Harvard Business School Working Papers 05-041, Harvard Business School, revised Nov 2008.
  12. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2010. "Divide and Rule or the Rule of the Divided? Evidence from Africa," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0756, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  13. Abhijit Banerjee & Lakshmi Iyer, 2010. "History Institutions and Economic Performance: The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India," Working Papers id:2811, eSocialSciences.
  14. Montalvo, Jose G. & Reynal-Querol, Marta, 2005. "Ethnic diversity and economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 293-323, April.
  15. Elise Huillery, 2009. "History Matters: The Long-Term Impact of Colonial Public Investments in French West Africa," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 176-215, April.
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