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Understanding Long-Run African Growth: Colonial Institutions or Colonial Education?

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  • Jutta Bolt
  • Dirk Bezemer

Abstract

Long-term growth in developing countries has been explained in four frameworks: 'extractive colonial institutions' (Acemoglu et al., 2001), 'colonial legal origin' (La Porta et al., 2004), 'geography' (Gallup et al., 1998) and 'colonial human capital' (Glaeser et al., 2004). In this paper we test the 'colonial human capital' explanation for sub-Saharan Africa, controlling for legal origin and geography. Utilising data on colonial era education, we find that instrumented human capital explains long-term growth better, and shows greater stability over time, than instrumented measures for extractive institutions. We suggest that the impact of the disease environment on African long-term growth runs through a human capital channel rather than an extractive-institutions channel. The effect of education is robust to including variables capturing legal origin and geography, which have additional explanatory power.

Suggested Citation

  • Jutta Bolt & Dirk Bezemer, 2009. "Understanding Long-Run African Growth: Colonial Institutions or Colonial Education?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(1), pages 24-54.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:45:y:2009:i:1:p:24-54 DOI: 10.1080/00220380802468603
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Wim Naudé, 2010. "Africa And The Global Economic Crisis: A Risk Assessment And Action Guide," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 27, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
    2. Baten, Jörg & Cappelli, Gabriele, 2016. "The Evolution of Human Capital in Africa, 1730 -1970: A Colonial Legacy?," CEPR Discussion Papers 11273, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Simplice A. Asongu & Jacinta C. Nwachukwu, 2016. "Rational Asymmetric Development, Piketty and Poverty in Africa," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 13(2), pages 221-246, December.
    4. Branko Milanovic & Paola Salardi, 2016. "The Evolution of Gender and Racial Occupational Segregation Across Formal and Non-Formal Labor Markets in Brazil, 1987 to 2006," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, pages 68-89.
    5. Wietzke, Frank-Borge, 2015. "Long-Term Consequences of Colonial Institutions and Human Capital Investments: Sub-National Evidence from Madagascar," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 293-307.
    6. Gnidchenko, Andrey, 2011. "Моделирование Технологических И Институциональных Эффектов В Макроэкономическом Прогнозировании
      [Technological and Institutional Effects Modeling in Macroeconomic Forecasting]
      ," MPRA Paper 35484, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised May 2011.
    7. Fenske, James, 2015. "African polygamy: Past and present," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 58-73.
    8. Feger, Thuto & Asafu-Adjaye, John, 2014. "Tax effort performance in sub-Sahara Africa and the role of colonialism," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 163-174.
    9. Fenske, James, 2010. "Institutions in African history and development: A review essay," MPRA Paper 23120, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Nathan Nunn, 2009. "The Importance of History for Economic Development," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 65-92, May.
    11. Cogneau, Denis & Moradi, Alexander, 2014. "Borders That Divide: Education and Religion in Ghana and Togo Since Colonial Times," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 74(03), pages 694-729, September.
    12. James Fenske, 2012. "Land abundance and economic institutions: Egba land and slavery, 1830–1914," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, pages 527-555.
    13. Mayshar, Joram & Moav, Omer & Neeman, Zvika & Pascali, Luigi, 2015. "Cereals, Appropriability and Hierarchy," CEPR Discussion Papers 10742, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Fenske, James, 2015. "African polygamy: Past and present," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 58-73.
    15. repec:dau:papers:123456789/12675 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Bezemer, Dirk & Bolt, Jutta & Lensink, Robert, 2014. "Slavery, Statehood, and Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 148-163.
    17. Oasis Kodila-Tedika & Simplice Asongu & Matthias Cinyabuguma, 2016. "The White Man’s Burden: On the Effect of African Resistance to European Domination," Working Papers 16/016, African Governance and Development Institute..
    18. Van Leeuwen, Bas & van Leeuwen-Li, Jieli & Foldvari, Peter, 2012. "Education as a driver of income inequality in twentieth-century Africa," MPRA Paper 43574, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Meier zu Selhausen, Felix & van Leeuwen, Marco & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2017. "Social Mobility among Christian Africans: Evidence from Anglican Marriage Registers in Uganda, 1895-2011," CEPR Discussion Papers 11767, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    20. Philipp Kolo, 2011. "Questioning Ethnic Fragmentation's Exogeneity - Drivers of Changing Ethnic Boundaries," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 210, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.

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