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Pre-Colonial Political Centralization and Contemporary Development in Uganda

  • Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay
  • Elliott Green

The importance of pre-colonial history on contemporary African development has become an important .eld of study within development economics in recent years. In particular Gennaioli and Rainer (2007) suggest that pre-colonial political centralization has had an impact on con- temporary levels of development within Africa at the country level. We test the Gennaioli and Rainer (2007) hypothesis at the sub-national level with evidence from Uganda. Using a variety of datasets we obtain results which are striking in two ways. First, we con.rm the Gennaioli and Rainer (2007) hypothesis that pre-colonial centralization is highly correlated with modern- day development outcomes such as GDP, asset ownership and poverty levels, and that these correlations hold at the district, sub-county and individual levels. We also use an instrumental variable approach to con.rm this .nding using the distance from ancient capital of Mubende as an instrument. However, our second .nding is that public goods like immunization coverage and primary school enrolment are not correlated with pre-colonial centralization. These .ndings are thus consistent with a correlation between pre-colonial centralization and private rather than public goods, thereby suggesting the persistence of poverty and wealth from the pre-colonial period to the present.

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Paper provided by Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE in its series STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series with number 039.

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Date of creation: Aug 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cep:stieop:039
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/default.asp

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  1. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2013. "Pre‐Colonial Ethnic Institutions and Contemporary African Development," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(1), pages 113-152, 01.
  2. Nathan Nunn & Leonard Wantchekon, 2009. "The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa," NBER Working Papers 14783, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Nathan Nunn, 2009. "The Importance of History for Economic Development," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 65-92, 05.
  4. Bockstette, Valerie & Chanda, Areendam & Putterman, Louis, 2002. " States and Markets: The Advantage of an Early Start," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 347-69, December.
  5. Miriam Bruhn & Francisco A. Gallego, 2012. "Good, Bad, and Ugly Colonial Activities: Do They Matter for Economic Development?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(2), pages 433-461, May.
  6. Elise Huillery, 2010. "The Impact of European Settlement within French West Africa," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/c8dmi8nm4pd, Sciences Po.
  7. Huillery, Elise, 2011. "The Impact of European Settlement within French West Africa. Did pre-colonial prosperous areas fall behind?," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/4316, Paris Dauphine University.
  8. 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.
  9. Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay & Elliott Green, 2010. "The Reversal of Fortune Thesis Reconsidered," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 016, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  10. Nicola Gennaioli & Ilia Rainer, 2007. "The modern impact of precolonial centralization in Africa," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 185-234, September.
  11. Jonas Hjort, 2010. "Pre-colonial culture, post-colonial economic success? The Tswana and the African economic miracle," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(3), pages 688-709, 08.
  12. Ritva Reinikka & Jakob Svensson, 2004. "Local Capture: Evidence From a Central Government Transfer Program in Uganda," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 678-704, May.
  13. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," NBER Working Papers 8460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Jha, Saumitra, 2008. "Trade, Institutions and Religious Tolerance: Evidence from India," Research Papers 2004, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
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