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National Institutions and African Development: Evidence from Partitioned Ethnicities

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  • Michalopoulos, Stelios
  • Papaioannou, Elias

Abstract

We investigate the role of national institutions on regional development in a novel framework. We exploit the fact that the arbitrary political boundaries in the eve of African independence partitioned more than two hundred ethnic groups across different countries subjecting similar cultures, residing in homogeneous geographic areas, to different formal institutions. Using both a matching-type and a regression discontinuity approach we show that differences in countrywide institutional structures across the national border do not explain within-ethnicity differences in economic performance, as captured by satellite light density at night. Despite some evidence of heterogeneity, for the overwhelming majority of groups the relationship is economically and statistically insignificant. While our results do not necessarily generalize to areas far from the national borders, close to the capital cities or to other parts of the world, they suggest that the cross-country positive correlation between formal national institutions and economic development has to be carefully interpreted.

Suggested Citation

  • Michalopoulos, Stelios & Papaioannou, Elias, 2012. "National Institutions and African Development: Evidence from Partitioned Ethnicities," CEPR Discussion Papers 9075, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9075
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Philippe Aghion, 2005. "Growth and Institutions," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 3-18, March.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The Skeptics Guide to Institutions – Part 3
      by dvollrath in The Growth Economics Blog on 2014-11-24 00:37:12

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Besley, Timothy & Reynal-Querol, Marta, 2014. "The Legacy of Historical Conflict: Evidence from Africa," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 108(2), pages 319-336, May.
    2. Miguel Rivera-Santos & Diane Holt & David Littlewood & Ans Kolk, 2015. "Social Entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa," Post-Print hal-02276715, HAL.
    3. Denis Cogneau & Sandrine Mesplé-Somps & Gilles Spielvogel, 2015. "Development at the Border: Policies and National Integration in Côte D'Ivoire and Its Neighbors," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 29(1), pages 41-71.
    4. Denis Cogneau & Yannick Dupraz, 2014. "Questionable Inference on the Power of Pre-Colonial Institutions in Africa," PSE Working Papers halshs-01018548, HAL.
    5. Dimico, Arcangelo, 2013. "Size Matters: The Effect of the Scramble for Africa on Informal Institutions and Development," MPRA Paper 54550, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 18 Mar 2014.
    6. Dimico, Arcangelo, 2014. "Poverty trap and educational shock: Evidence from missionary fields," QUCEH Working Paper Series 14-07, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.
    7. Tcheta-Bampa, Albert & Kodila-Tedika, Oasis, 2018. "Conditions institutionnelles de la malédiction des ressources naturelles en Afrique sur les performances économiques [Institutional conditions of the natural resource curse in Africa on economic pe," MPRA Paper 86511, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Arcangelo Dimico, 2017. "Size Matters: The Effect of the Size of Ethnic Groups on Development," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 79(3), pages 291-318, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    africa; borders; development; ethnicity; institutions; regression discontinuity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N17 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Africa; Oceania
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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