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Pre-Colonial Political Centralization and Contemporary Development in Uganda

Author

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  • Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay
  • Elliott Green

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay & Elliott Green, 2012. "Pre-Colonial Political Centralization and Contemporary Development in Uganda," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 039, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:stieop:039
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nathan Nunn, 2009. "The Importance of History for Economic Development," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 65-92, May.
    2. Nathan Nunn, 2008. "The Long-term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 139-176.
    3. Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay & Elliott Green, 2011. "The Reversal of Fortune Thesis Reconsidered," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(7), pages 817-831, December.
    4. 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.
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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. Antonio A. Bellofatto & Martín Besfamille, 2015. "Regional State Capacity and the Optimal Degree of Fiscal Decentralization," Documentos de Trabajo 460, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
    3. Belinda Archibong, 2016. "Historical origins of persistent inequality in Nigeria," WIDER Working Paper Series 161, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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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