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National Institutions and Subnational Development in Africa

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Abstract

We investigate the role of national institutions on subnational African development in a novel framework that accounts for both local geography and cultural-genetic traits. We exploit the fact that the political boundaries on the eve of African independence partitioned more than 200 ethnic groups across adjacent countries subjecting similar cultures, residing in homogeneous geographic areas, to different formal institutions. Using both a matching type and a spatial regression discontinuity approach we show that differences in countrywide institutional structures across the national border do not explain within-ethnicity differences in economic performance, as captured by satellite images of light density. The average noneffect of national institutions on ethnic development masks considerable heterogeneity partially driven by the diminishing role of national institutions in areas further from the capital cities. JEL Codes: O10, O40, O43, N17, Z10. Copyright 2014, Oxford University Press.

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  • Elias Papaioannou, 2014. "National Institutions and Subnational Development in Africa," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(1), pages 151-213.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:129:y:2014:i:1:p:151-213
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    1. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2016. "The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(7), pages 1802-1848, July.
    2. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2013. "The 'Out of Africa' Hypothesis, Human Genetic Diversity, and Comparative Economic Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 1-46, February.
    3. Michalopoulos, Stelios & Papaioannou, Elias, 2010. "Divide and Rule or the Rule of the Divided? Evidence from Africa," CEPR Discussion Papers 8088, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Stelios Michalopoulos & Alireza Naghavi & Giovanni Prarolo, 2012. "Trade and Geography in the Origins and Spread of Islam," NBER Working Papers 18438, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N17 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Africa; Oceania
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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