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Confronting colonial legacies-lessons from human development in Ghana and Kenya, 1880-2000

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  • Alexander Moradi

    (Department of Economics, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK)

Abstract

A growing body of scholarly research locates the roots of Africa's poverty in its colonial past. However, studies avoid tracing Africa's development over the full course of history. In this paper, I quantify the changes in well-being of the African population in Ghana and Kenya, at the regional level, during the years 1880-2000. By using body stature as a measure of nutritional status I overcome the scarcity and unreliability of historical data. The two countries had a much more diverse development under colonial times than commonly assumed, with phases of substantial progress (which was also unevenly distributed between the regions). Based on these new findings I confront the existing colonial legacy literature and point to possible lessons that can be drawn from human development over the last 120 years. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander Moradi, 2008. "Confronting colonial legacies-lessons from human development in Ghana and Kenya, 1880-2000," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(8), pages 1107-1121.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:20:y:2008:i:8:p:1107-1121
    DOI: 10.1002/jid.1514
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Moradi, Alexander & Baten, Joerg, 2005. "Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa: New Data and New Insights from Anthropometric Estimates," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1233-1265, August.
    2. Grier, Robin M, 1999. "Colonial Legacies and Economic Growth," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 317-335, March.
    3. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
    4. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 2003. "Law, endowments, and finance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 137-181, November.
    5. Smith, Lisa C. & Haddad, Lawrence James, 2000. "Explaining child malnutrition in developing countries: a cross-country analysis," Research reports 111, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Komlos, John & Baten, Jörg, 2003. "Looking Backward and Looking Forward: Anthropometric Research and the Development of Social Science History," Discussion Papers in Economics 59, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    7. Sue Bowden & Blessing Chiripanhura & Paul Mosley, 2008. "Measuring and explaining poverty in six African countries: A long-period approach," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(8), pages 1049-1079.
    8. Nunn, Nathan, 2007. "Historical legacies: A model linking Africa's past to its current underdevelopment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 157-175, May.
    9. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    10. Robert Blanton & T. David Mason & Brian Athow, 2001. "Colonial Style and Post-Colonial Ethnic Conflict in Africa," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 38(4), pages 473-491, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Prados de la Escosura, Leandro, 2013. "Human development in Africa: A long-run perspective," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 179-204.
    2. 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.
    3. repec:dau:papers:123456789/12675 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Oliver Vanden Eynde, 2016. "Military Service and Human Capital Accumulation: Evidence from Colonial Punjab," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(4), pages 10031035-10.
    5. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:28:y:2018:i:c:p:107-118 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Kodila-Tedika, Oasis, 2013. "Esclavagisme et colonisation : Quelles conséquences contemporaines en Afrique ? - Résumé critique des travaux de l'économiste Nathan Nunn
      [Slavery and colonization: What contemporary consequences i
      ," MPRA Paper 43732, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Morten Jerven, 2014. "A West African experiment: constructing a GDP series for colonial Ghana, 1891–1950," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(4), pages 964-992, November.
    8. Leander Heldring & James A. Robinson, 2012. "Colonialism and Economic Development in Africa," NBER Working Papers 18566, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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