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Colonial Legacy, State-building and the Salience of Ethnicity in Sub-Saharan Africa

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  • Ali, Merima
  • Fjeldstad, Odd†Helge
  • Jiang, Boqian
  • Shifa, Abdulaziz B.

Abstract

African colonial history suggests that British colonial rule may have undermined state centralisation due to legacies of ethnic segregation and stronger executive constraints. Using micro†data from anglophone and francophone countries in sub†Saharan Africa, we find that anglophone citizens are less likely to identify themselves in national terms (relative to ethnic terms). To address endogeneity concerns, we utilise regression discontinuity by focusing on observations near anglophone−francophone borders, both across countries and within Cameroon. Evidence on taxation, security and the power of chiefs also suggests weaker state capacity in anglophone countries. These results highlight the legacy of colonial rule on state†building.

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  • Ali, Merima & Fjeldstad, Odd†Helge & Jiang, Boqian & Shifa, Abdulaziz B., 2018. "Colonial Legacy, State-building and the Salience of Ethnicity in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 13752, Institute of Development Studies, International Centre for Tax and Development.
  • Handle: RePEc:idq:ictduk:13752
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    1. Elise Huillery, 2009. "History Matters: The Long-Term Impact of Colonial Public Investments in French West Africa," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 176-215, April.
    2. Leeson, Peter T., 2005. "Endogenizing fractionalization," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 75-98, June.
    3. Carl Henrik Knutsen & Andreas Kotsadam & Eivind Hammersmark Olsen & Tore Wig, 2017. "Mining and Local Corruption in Africa," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 61(2), pages 320-334, April.
    4. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
    5. Lange, Matthew K., 2004. "British Colonial Legacies and Political Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 905-922, June.
    6. Robert Blanton & T. David Mason & Brian Athow, 2001. "Colonial Style and Post-Colonial Ethnic Conflict in Africa," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 38(4), pages 473-491, July.
    7. Nicola Gennaioli & Ilia Rainer, 2007. "The modern impact of precolonial centralization in Africa," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 185-234, September.
    8. Daron Acemoglu & Tristan Reed & James A. Robinson, 2014. "Chiefs: Economic Development and Elite Control of Civil Society in Sierra Leone," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(2), pages 319-368.
    9. Miguel, Edward & Gugerty, Mary Kay, 2005. "Ethnic diversity, social sanctions, and public goods in Kenya," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2325-2368, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Vojtech Bartos & Ian Levely, 2018. "Sanctioning and Trustworthiness across Ethnic Groups: Experimental Evidence from Afghanistan," CESifo Working Paper Series 7179, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. repec:eee:eecrev:v:113:y:2019:i:c:p:247-264 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Levely, Ian & Bartos, Vojtech, 2018. "Sanctioning and Trustworthiness Across Ethnic Groups," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 107, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.

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    Governance;

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