IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hrv/faseco/29412035.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Ruggedness: The Blessing of Bad Geography in Africa

Author

Listed:
  • Nunn, Nathan
  • Puga, Diego

Abstract

We show that geography, through its impact on history, can have important effects on economic development today. The analysis focuses on the historic interaction between ruggedness and Africa’s slave trades. Although rugged terrain hinders trade and most productive activities, negatively affecting income globally, rugged terrain within Africa afforded protection to those being raided during the slave trades. Since the slave trades retarded subsequent economic development, ruggedness within Africa has also had a historic indirect positive effect on income. Studying all countries worldwide, we estimate the differential effect of ruggedness on income for Africa. We show that the differential effect of ruggedness is statistically significant and economically meaningful, it is found in Africa only, it cannot be explained by other factors like Africa’s unique geographic environment, and it is fully accounted for by the history of the slave trades.

Suggested Citation

  • Nunn, Nathan & Puga, Diego, 2012. "Ruggedness: The Blessing of Bad Geography in Africa," Scholarly Articles 29412035, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:29412035
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/29412035/ruggedness.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Nathan Nunn, 2008. "The Long-term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 139-176.
    2. Andrei Shleifer & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Rafael La Porta, 2008. "The Economic Consequences of Legal Origins," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 285-332, June.
    3. Halvor Mehlum & Karl Moene & Ragnar Torvik, 2006. "Institutions and the Resource Curse," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(508), pages 1-20, January.
    4. Sharon Maccini & Dean Yang, 2009. "Under the Weather: Health, Schooling, and Economic Consequences of Early-Life Rainfall," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 1006-1026, June.
    5. Rappaport, Jordan & Sachs, Jeffrey D, 2003. "The United States as a Coastal Nation," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 5-46, March.
    6. repec:cup:apsrev:v:97:y:2003:i:01:p:75-90_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
    8. N. Kaldor, 1971. "A Comment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(1), pages 45-46.
    9. Benjamin A. Olken, 2009. "Do Television and Radio Destroy Social Capital? Evidence from Indonesian Villages," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(4), pages 1-33, October.
    10. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294.
    11. William Easterly, 2007. "Was Development Assistance a Mistake?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 328-332, May.
    12. Marcy Burchfield & Henry G. Overman & Diego Puga & Matthew A. Turner, 2006. "Causes of Sprawl: A Portrait from Space," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 587-633.
    13. Nathan Nunn & Leonard Wantchekon, 2011. "The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3221-3252, December.
    14. William Easterly, 2006. "Reliving the 1950s: the big push, poverty traps, and takeoffs in economic development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 289-318, December.
    15. Robinson, James A. & Torvik, Ragnar & Verdier, Thierry, 2006. "Political foundations of the resource curse," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 447-468, April.
    16. Stanley L. Engerman & Kenneth Lee Sokoloff, 2002. "Factor Endowments, Inequality, and Paths of Development Among New World Economies," ECONOMIA JOURNAL, THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION - LACEA, vol. 0(Fall 2002), pages 41-110, August.
    17. 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.
    18. Simeon Djankov & Jose Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2008. "The curse of aid," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 169-194, September.
    19. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 563-595, October.
    20. Maddison, Angus, 2007. "Contours of the World Economy 1-2030 AD: Essays in Macro-Economic History," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199227204.
    21. Edward Miguel, 2005. "Poverty and Witch Killing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(4), pages 1153-1172.
    22. Rodney Ramcharan, 2006. "Does Economic Diversification Lead to Financial Development? Evidence From topography," IMF Working Papers 06/35, International Monetary Fund.
    23. HwaJung Choi, 2007. "Are Remittances Insurance? Evidence from Rainfall Shocks in the Philippines," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 21(2), pages 219-248, May.
    24. repec:hrv:faseco:30747160 is not listed on IDEAS
    25. Edward Miguel & Shanker Satyanath & Ernest Sergenti, 2004. "Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict: An Instrumental Variables Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 725-753, August.
    26. Sachs, Jeffrey D. & Warner, Andrew M., 2001. "The curse of natural resources," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 827-838, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    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
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

    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:hrv:faseco:29412035. 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: (Office for Scholarly Communication). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/deharus.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.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with 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.