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State History and Contemporary Conflict: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa

Author

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  • Emilio Depetris-Chauvin

Abstract

I examine empirically the role of historical political centralization on the likelihood of contemporary civil conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa. I combine a wide variety of historical sources to construct an original measure of long-run exposure to statehood at the sub-national level. I then exploit variation in this new measure along with geo-referenced conflict data to document a robust negative relationship between long-run exposure to statehood and contemporary conflict. From a variety of identification strategies, I provide evidence suggesting that the relationship is causal. I argue that regions with long histories of statehood are better equipped with mechanisms to establish and preserve order. I provide two pieces of evidence consistent with this hypothesis. First, regions with relatively long historical exposure to statehood are less prone to experience conflict when hit by a negative economic shock. Second, exploiting contemporary individual-level survey data, I show that within-country long historical statehood experience is linked to people’s positive attitudes toward state institutions and traditional leaders.

Suggested Citation

  • Emilio Depetris-Chauvin, 2016. "State History and Contemporary Conflict: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa," Documentos de Trabajo 475, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
  • Handle: RePEc:ioe:doctra:475
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    File URL: http://www.economia.uc.cl/docs/dt_475.pdf
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Emilio Depetris-Chauvin & Ömer Özak, 2016. "The Origins and Long-Run Consequences of the Division of Labor," Departmental Working Papers 1610, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
    2. Emilio Depetris-Chauvin & Ömer Özak, 2020. "Borderline Disorder: (De facto) Historical Ethnic Borders and Contemporary Conflict in Africa," Documentos de Trabajo 551, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
    3. Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio & Özak, Ömer, 2015. "Population Diversity, Division of Labor and the Emergence of Trade and State," MPRA Paper 69565, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio & Özak, Ömer, 2018. "The Origins of the Division of Labor in Pre-modern Times," MPRA Paper 84894, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Leander Heldring, 2019. "The Origins of Violence in Rwanda," HiCN Working Papers 299, Households in Conflict Network.
    6. Cornelius Christian & James Fenske, 2015. "Economic shocks and unrest in French West Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series 2015-01, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    7. Kodila-Tedika, Oasis & Khalifa, Sherif, 2019. "State History and State Fragility: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa," MPRA Paper 97871, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Emilio Depetris-Chauvin & Ömer Özak, 2020. "The origins of the division of labor in pre-industrial times," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 297-340, September.
    9. Mark Dincecco & James Fenske & Massimiliano Gaetano Onorato, 2019. "Is Africa Different? Historical Conflict and State Development," Economic History of Developing Regions, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(2), pages 209-250, May.
    10. Alberto Alesina & Sebastian Hohmann & Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2021. "Intergenerational Mobility in Africa," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 89(1), pages 1-35, January.
    11. PatriÌ cia Justino & Wolfgang Stojetz, 2018. "On the Legacies of Wartime Governance," HiCN Working Papers 263, Households in Conflict Network.
    12. Cantoni, Davide & Mohr, Cathrin & Weigand, Matthias, 2019. "The Rise of Fiscal Capacity," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 172, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    13. Jacob Moscona & Nathan Nunn & James A. Robinson, 2018. "Social Structure and Conflict: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa," HiCN Working Papers 264, Households in Conflict Network.
    14. Ang, James B. & Gupta, Satyendra Kumar, 2018. "Agricultural yield and conflict," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 397-417.
    15. Oana Borcan & Ola Olsson & Louis Putterman, 2018. "State history and economic development: evidence from six millennia," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 1-40, March.
    16. Jean-Paul Faguet & Camilo Matajira & Fabio Sánchez, 2017. "Is Extraction Bad? Encomienda and Development in Colombia since 1560," Documentos CEDE 015668, Universidad de los Andes - CEDE.
    17. Patricia Justino & Wolfgang Stojetz, 2019. "Civic legacies of wartime governance," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2019-104, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    18. Fenske, James & Kala, Namrata, 2017. "1807: Economic shocks, conflict and the slave trade," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 66-76.
    19. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2020. "Historical Legacies and African Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 58(1), pages 53-128, March.
    20. Leander Heldring, 2014. "State Capacity and Violence: Evidence from the Rwandan genocide," CSAE Working Paper Series 2014-08, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • N47 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Africa; Oceania
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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