IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/dia/wpaper/dt200305.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Colonization, Institutions, and Inequality, A note on some suggestive evidence

Author

Listed:
  • Denis Cogneau

    () (DIAL, IRD, Paris)

  • Charlotte Guénard

    () (DIAL)

Abstract

What is the kind of institutions that affect economic inequalities? Using a database on national income inequality for 73 non-European countries, we show that 'good governance' not only contributes to the level of income but also to a more equal distribution by increasing the income share of the middle class. Beside this effect of the quality of capitalist institutions, we also find an inverted U relationship between inequalities and the extent of European settlement. We finally find a large and robust correlation between the pre-colonial population density and the present equality of income distribution. We argue that this latter correlation may have to do with institutional dimensions that are not captured by usual measures of institutional quality in available databases. Countries which were more densely populated in 1500 have indeed worse 'governance' but give larger income shares to the poor. They had more structured pre-colonial States, more often resisted to colonisation, and more often adopted a mixed economic system. Many of them in fact ended with a more equal land distribution. The equality in the distribution of landholdings does appear as an important determinant of the overall equality of income and of poverty which is independent from 'usual' governance issues. _________________________________ Quels sont les types d’institutions qui influencent les inégalités économiques ? En utilisant une base de données sur les inégalités nationales de revenu sur un échantillon de 73 pays non européens, nous montrons que la « bonne gouvernance » contribue non seulement au niveau de revenu moyen des pays mais aussi à une distribution plus égalitaire à travers l’accroissement de la part de revenu reçue par la classe moyenne. A côté de cet effet de la qualité des institutions capitalistes, nous trouvons une relation en U inversé entre les inégalités et l’importance de la population de descendance européenne. Nous trouvons enfin une corrélation large et robuste entre la densité de population précoloniale et l’égalité de la distribution actuelle du revenu. Nous argumentons que cette dernière corrélation reflète des dimensions institutionnelles qui ne sont pas captées par les mesures usuelles de qualité des institutions dans les bases de données disponibles. Les pays qui étaient les plus densément peuplés au seizième siècle ont en effet une moins bonne gouvernance mais accordent une plus large part du revenu aux plus pauvres. Ils avaient des Etats précoloniaux plus structurés, ont résisté plus souvent à la colonisation, et ont adopté plus souvent un système d’économie mixte. Beaucoup d’entre eux présentent une répartition des terres plus égalitaire. L’égalité de la distribution des terres apparaît comme un déterminant important de l’égalité globale des revenus et de la pauvreté, indépendamment des standards de « gouvernance » usuels.

Suggested Citation

  • Denis Cogneau & Charlotte Guénard, 2003. "Colonization, Institutions, and Inequality, A note on some suggestive evidence," Working Papers DT/2003/05, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  • Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt200305
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.dial.ird.fr/media/ird-sites-d-unites-de-recherche/dial/documents/publications/doc_travail/2003/2003-05
    File Function: First version, 2003
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Jean-Claude Berthélemy, 2006. "To What Extent are African Education Policies Pro-poor?," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 15(3), pages 434-469, September.
    2. Kodila-Tedika, Oasis, 2013. "Esclavagisme et colonisation : Quelles conséquences contemporaines en Afrique ? - Résumé critique des travaux de l'économiste Nathan Nunn
      [Slavery and colonization: What contemporary consequences i
      ," MPRA Paper 43732, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Colonisation; Inégalité; Institutions; Développement; Colonization; Inequality; Institutions; Development.;

    JEL classification:

    • N37 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Africa; Oceania
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • P51 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Analysis of Economic Systems

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt200305. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Loic Le Pezennec). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/diallfr.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.