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Did Colonization Matter for Growth? An Empirical Exploration into the Historical Causes of Africa's Underdevelopment

  • Bertocchi, Graziella
  • Canova, Fabio

This paper investigates the impact of twentieth-century European colonization on African countries. We find that colonization mattered for growth. The following had some beneficial growth effects: being a dependency rather than a colony; being a colony of France or the United Kingdom rather than Belgium, Italy or Portugal; and being less exploited. On average, growth accelerates after independence. Variables proxying for colonial heritage add explanatory power to standard growth regressions, while indicators for human capital and political and ethnic instability lose significance. The coefficient of a dummy for sub-Saharan Africa becomes less significant in a cross section of 98 countries after controlling for colonial experience.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 1444.

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Date of creation: Sep 1996
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1444
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  1. Barro, Robert J, 1996. " Democracy and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-27, March.
  2. 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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  19. Svedberg, Peter, 1981. "Colonial Enforcement of Foreign Direct Investment," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 49(1), pages 21-38, March.
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