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Precolonial Political Centralization and Contemporary Development in Uganda

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  • Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay
  • Elliott Green

Abstract

The role of precolonial history on contemporary development has become an important field of study within development economics. Here we examine the role of precolonial political centralization on contemporary development outcomes with detailed subnational data from Uganda. We use a variety of data sets and obtain two striking results. First, we find that precolonial centralization is highly correlated with modern-day development outcomes such as GDP, asset ownership, and poverty at the subcounty, district, and individual level; additional results using an instrumental variable approach confirm this finding. Second, we find that public goods such as immunization coverage and primary school enrollment, as well as perceptions of local government quality, are not correlated with precolonial centralization. These findings are thus consistent with a correlation between precolonial centralization and private rather than public goods, thereby suggesting the persistence of poverty and wealth from the precolonial period to the present.

Suggested Citation

  • Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay & Elliott Green, 2016. "Precolonial Political Centralization and Contemporary Development in Uganda," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64(3), pages 471-508.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:doi:10.1086/685410
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    Cited by:

    1. Daron Acemoglu & Camilo García-Jimeno & James A. Robinson, 2015. "State Capacity and Economic Development: A Network Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(8), pages 2364-2409, August.
    2. Bagchi, Kaushambi & Kapilavai, Sashank, 2018. "Political Economy of Data Nationalism," 22nd ITS Biennial Conference, Seoul 2018. Beyond the boundaries: Challenges for business, policy and society 190347, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    3. Bellofatto, Antonio Andrés & Besfamille, Martín, 2018. "Regional state capacity and the optimal degree of fiscal decentralization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 225-243.
    4. Kodila-Tedika, Oasis & Asongu, Simplice, 2018. "The Long-Term Effects of African Resistance to European Domination: Institutional Mechanism," MPRA Paper 85237, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Belinda Archibong, 2016. "Historical origins of persistent inequality in Nigeria," WIDER Working Paper Series 161, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. Pranab Bardhan, 2016. "State and Development: The Need for a Reappraisal of the Current Literature," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(3), pages 862-892, September.
    7. Michalopoulos, Stelios & Papaioannou, Elias, 2015. "Further evidence on the link between pre-colonial political centralization and comparative economic development in Africa," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 57-62.
    8. Daron Acemoglu & Isaías N. Chaves & Philip Osafo-Kwaako & James A. Robinson, 2014. "Indirect Rule and State Weakness in Africa: Sierra Leone in Comparative Perspective," NBER Chapters,in: African Successes, Volume IV: Sustainable Growth, pages 343-370 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Bolt, Jutta & Gardner, Leigh, 2018. "Tax Compliance under Indirect Rule in British Africa," African Economic History Working Paper 40/2018, African Economic History Network.
    10. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2014. "On the Ethnic Origins of African Development Chiefs and Pre-colonial Political Centralization," NBER Working Papers 20513, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Pranab Bardhan, 2015. "State and Economic Development: The Need for a Reappraisal of the Current Literature," Working Papers id:7060, eSocialSciences.

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    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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