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Is There a Long-Term Effect of Africa's Slave Trades?

  • Margherita Bottero

    ()

    (Bank of Italy)

  • Björn Wallace

    ()

    (University of Cambridge)

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    Nunn (2008) found a negative relationship between past slave exports and economic performance within Africa. Here we investigate these findings and the suggested causal pathway in further detail. Extending the sample period back in time we reveal that the coefficient on slave exports did not become significantly negative until 1970, and that it was close to zero in 1960. While one potential explanation for this temporal pattern could be decolonization, we analyse other episodes of slave raiding outside Africa, and find evidence that questions the validity of such suggestion. In addition, our reading of the historical and anthropological literature differs from that of Nunn. For instance, taking a global rather than African perspective we find that the African slave trades cannot without difficulties explain the patterns of ethnic fractionalization that we observe today.

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    File URL: http://www.bancaditalia.it/pubblicazioni/quaderni-storia/2013-0030/QSE_30.pdf
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    Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) with number 30.

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    Date of creation: Apr 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:bdi:workqs:qse_30
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    Web page: http://www.bancaditalia.it

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