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Pre-Colonial Political Centralization and Contemporary Development in Uganda

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  • Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay and Elliott Green

Abstract

The importance of pre-colonial history on contemporary African development has become an important field of study within development economics in recent years. In particular (Gennaioli & Rainer, 2007) suggest that pre-colonial political centralization has had an impact on contemporary levels of development within Africa at the country level. We test the (Gennaioli & Rainer, 2007) hypothesis at the sub-national level for the first time with evidence from Uganda. Using a variety of datasets we obtain results which are striking in two ways. First, we confirm the (Gennaioli & 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 confirm this finding using the distance from ancient capital of Mubende as an instrument. However, our second finding is that public goods like immunization coverage and primary school enrolment are not correlated with pre-colonial centralization. These findings 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 and Elliott Green, 2012. "Pre-Colonial Political Centralization and Contemporary Development in Uganda," Working Papers 39, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:cgs:wpaper:39
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    Cited by:

    1. Maxwell Mkondiwa, 2020. "Mancala board games and origins of entrepreneurship in Africa," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(10), pages 1-23, October.
    2. 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.
    3. Archibong, Belinda, 2019. "Explaining divergence in the long-term effects of precolonial centralization on access to public infrastructure services in Nigeria," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 123-140.
    4. Bolt, Jutta & Gardner, Leigh, 2020. "How Africans shaped British colonial institutions: evidence from local taxation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 107519, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Foa, Roberto Stefan, 2022. "Decentralization, historical state capacity and public goods provision in Post-Soviet Russia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 152(C).
    6. Bagchi, Kaushambi & Kapilavai, Sashank, 2018. "Political Economy of Data Nationalism," 22nd ITS Biennial Conference, Seoul 2018. Beyond the boundaries: Challenges for business, policy and society 190347, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    7. Belinda Archibong, 2018. "Historical origins of persistent inequality in Nigeria," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(3), pages 325-347, July.
    8. Bellofatto, Antonio Andrés & Besfamille, Martín, 2018. "Regional state capacity and the optimal degree of fiscal decentralization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 225-243.
    9. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2020. "Historical Legacies and African Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 58(1), pages 53-128, March.
    10. Kodila-Tedika, Oasis & Asongu, Simplice, 2018. "The Long-Term Effects of African Resistance to European Domination: Institutional Mechanism," MPRA Paper 85237, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Belinda Archibong, 2018. "Historical origins of persistent inequality in Nigeria," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(3), pages 325-347, July.
    12. 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.
    13. Bauer, Vincent & Platas, Melina R. & Weinstein, Jeremy M., 2022. "Legacies of Islamic Rule in Africa: Colonial Responses and Contemporary Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 152(C).
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
    16. Bolt, Jutta & Gardner, Leigh, 2018. "Tax Compliance under Indirect Rule in British Africa," African Economic History Working Paper 40/2018, African Economic History Network.
    17. 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.
    18. Cheng, Hua & Gawande, Kishore & Qi, Shusen, 2022. "State capacity, economic output, and public goods in China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 158(C).
    19. 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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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pre-colonial Political Centralization; Development; Uganda;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand

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