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

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  • Bertocchi, Graziella
  • Canova, Fabio

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Bertocchi, Graziella & Canova, Fabio, 1996. "Did Colonization Matter for Growth? An Empirical Exploration into the Historical Causes of Africa's Underdevelopment," CEPR Discussion Papers 1444, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1444
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Africa; Colonization; Growth;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E00 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - General
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development

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