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On the Institutional Legacy of Mercantilist and Imperialist Colonialism

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  • Olsson, Ola

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

Abstract

The article features a temporal approach to modelling the social impact of Western colonialism. We collect a data set for all former colonies and dependencies that are regarded as countries today (143 observations). Our data, as well as existing theory, suggest that the very heterogeneous era of colonization might be divided into an early ’mercantilist’ wave and a much later ’imperialist’ wave with quite different characteristics. We demonstrate that a commonly used determinant of institutional quality - colonial settler mortality - had a much weaker effect on institutional outcomes during the imperialist scramble for Africa. When we broaden the analysis, it is shown that the positive effect of colonial duration on democracy is strongest among countries colonized during the imperialist era. Controlling for colonial duration, our results further indicate that a long history of statehood is bad for democracy while there is almost no effect of the national identity of the colonizer.

Suggested Citation

  • Olsson, Ola, 2007. "On the Institutional Legacy of Mercantilist and Imperialist Colonialism," Working Papers in Economics 247, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0247
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/3135
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dani Rodrik & Arvind Subramanian & Francesco Trebbi, 2004. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions Over Geography and Integration in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 131-165, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Bleaney & Arcangelo Dimico, "undated". "Geography Matters: Reconsidering the Effect of Geography on Development," Discussion Papers 08/14, University of Nottingham, CREDIT.
    2. Philipp Kolo, 2011. "Questioning Ethnic Fragmentation's Exogeneity - Drivers of Changing Ethnic Boundaries," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 210, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    colonialism; democracy; institutions; development; settler mortality;

    JEL classification:

    • N40 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N50 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • P33 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - International Trade, Finance, Investment, Relations, and Aid

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