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Critical Junctures: Independence Movements and Democracy in Africa

  • Wantchekon, Leonard

    (Princeton University)

  • Garcia-Ponce, Omar

    (New York University)

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    We show that current levels of democracy in Africa are linked to the nature of its independence movements. Using different measures of political regimes and historical data on anti-colonial movements, we find that countries that experienced rural insurgencies tend to have autocratic regimes, while those that faced urban protests tend to have more democratic institutions. We provide evidence for causality in this relationship by using rough terrain as an instrument for rural insurgency, and by performing a sensitivity analysis. Finally, the evidence suggests that the adoption of rural insurgency perpetuated the use of violence as a form of conflict resolution.

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    Paper provided by Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE) in its series CAGE Online Working Paper Series with number 173.

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    Date of creation: 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:173
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    1. Nathan Nunn & Diego Puga, 2009. "Ruggedness: The Blessing of Bad Geography in Africa," NBER Working Papers 14918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Ponzetto, Giacomo A. M. & Shleifer, Andrei, 2007. "Why does democracy need education?," Scholarly Articles 27867132, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    3. Elias Papaioannou & Gregorios Siourounis, 2008. "Democratisation and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(532), pages 1520-1551, October.
    4. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2007. "Reevaluating the Modernization Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 13334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Robert J. Barro, 1999. "Determinants of Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S158-S183, December.
    6. Nathan Nunn & Leonard Wantchekon, 2011. "The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3221-52, December.
    7. Jess Benhabib & Alejandro Corvalen & Mark M. Spiegel, 2011. "Reestablishing the income-democracy nexus," Working Paper Series 2011-09, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    8. Timothy G. Conley & Christian B. Hansen & Peter E. Rossi, 2012. "Plausibly Exogenous," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 260-272, February.
    9. Gleditsch, Kristian Skrede & Ward, Michael D., 2006. "Diffusion and the International Context of Democratization," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(04), pages 911-933, October.
    10. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2005. "Income and Democracy," NBER Working Papers 11205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Adam Przeworski & Fernando Limongi, 1993. "Political Regimes and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 51-69, Summer.
    12. Dunning, Thad, 2004. "Conditioning the Effects of Aid: Cold War Politics, Donor Credibility, and Democracy in Africa," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(02), pages 409-423, April.
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