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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, 2018. "The Origins of the Division of Labor in Pre-modern Times," Departmental Working Papers 1803, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
    2. Mark Dincecco & James Fenske & Massimiliano Gaetano Onorato, 2014. "Is Africa Different? Historical Conflict and State Development," CSAE Working Paper Series 2014-35, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    3. 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.
    4. Emilio Depetris-Chauvin & Ömer Özak, 2015. "Population Diversity, Division of Labor and the Emergence of Trade and State," Documentos CEDE 014228, Universidad de los Andes - CEDE.
    5. 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.
    6. Fenske, James & Kala, Namrata, 2017. "1807: Economic shocks, conflict and the slave trade," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 66-76.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. Moscona, Jacob & Nunn, Nathan & Robinson, James A, 2018. "Social Structure and Conflict: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa," CEPR Discussion Papers 13030, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    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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