Did colonization matter for growth?: An empirical exploration into the historical causes of Africa's underdevelopment
We investigate the impact of 20th--century European colonization on growth in Africa. We find that in the 1960--88 period growth has been faster for dependencies than for colonies; for British and French colonies than for Portuguese, Belgian and Italian ones; and for countries with less economic penetration during the colonial period. On average, African growth accelerates after decolonization. Proxies for colonial heritage add explanatory power to growth regressions and make indicators for human capital, political and ethnic instability lose significance. Colonial variables capture the same effects of a sub--Saharan dummy and reduce its significance when jointly included in a cross sectional regression with 98 countries.
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