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War and Peace: The European Decolonization Process


  • Nuno R. Garoupa
  • João E. Gata


Current historiography on the European decolonization processes has developed no general theory of these processes, but is rather a collection of case-based studies. Moreover, there is no consideration for counter-factual possibilities, including the analysis of those cases where independence has not occurred. In this paper we aim at constructing a rational theory approach to decolonization that can encompass the majority of historical cases. Our rational theory is constructed by considering the possible convergence, or divergence, of interests between central and local administrations, and the weight that each carries in the decolonization decision-making process. Our theory predicts that a high value colony will be more likely to experience a colonial war, whereas a low value colony is more likely to achieve independence in a peaceful manner. This observation has to be definned once we allow for the existence of a domestic: game between haw (pro-colonialism) and daves (pro-independence). We then study the strategic relations between the two players, native political organizations and the colonial power, and the domestic outcome.

Suggested Citation

  • Nuno R. Garoupa & João E. Gata, 2001. "War and Peace: The European Decolonization Process," Working Papers Department of Economics 2001/02, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
  • Handle: RePEc:ise:isegwp:wp22001

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    Cited by:

    1. Nunn, Nathan, 2007. "Historical legacies: A model linking Africa's past to its current underdevelopment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 157-175, May.

    More about this item


    colonialism; decolonization; colonial war; colonizer's rent; extensive form game; subgame perfect equilibrium.;

    JEL classification:

    • C71 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Cooperative Games
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • N00 - Economic History - - General - - - General


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