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The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa

  • Stelios Michalopoulos
  • Elias Papaioannou

We examine the long-run consequences of ethnic partitioning, a neglected aspect of the Scramble for Africa, and uncover the following regularities. First, apart from the land mass and presence of water bodies, historical homelands of split and non-split groups are similar across many observable characteristics. Second, using georeferenced data on political violence, that include both state-driven conflict and violence against civilians, we find that the incidence, severity and duration of violence are higher in the historical homelands of partitioned groups. Third, we shed some light on the mechanisms showing that military interventions from neighboring countries are much more likely in the homelands of split groups. Fourth, our exploration of the status of ethnic groups in the political arena reveals that partitioned ethnicities are systematically discriminated from the national government and are more likely to participate in ethnic civil wars. Fifth, using individual-level data we document that respondents identifying with split groups have lower access to public goods and worse educational outcomes. The uncovered evidence brings in the foreground the detrimental repercussions of ethnic partitioning.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17620.

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Date of creation: Nov 2011
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Publication status: published as Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2016. "The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa," American Economic Review, vol 106(7), pages 1802-1848.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17620
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  1. Bosker, Maarten & de Ree, Joppe, 2010. "Ethnicity and the spread of civil war," CEPR Discussion Papers 8055, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Alesina, Alberto F & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2008. "Segregation and the Quality of Government in a Cross-Section of Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 6943, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  9. Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William & Alesina, Alberto, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," Scholarly Articles 4551797, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  11. Michalopoulos, Stelios & Papaioannou, Elias, 2010. "Divide and Rule or the Rule of the Divided? Evidence from Africa," CEPR Discussion Papers 8088, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  13. Fenske, James, 2009. "Does Land Abundance Explain African Institutions?," Working Papers 74, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  14. Abhijit Banerjee & Lakshmi Iyer, 2005. "History, Institutions, and Economic Performance: The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1190-1213, September.
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  17. Conley, T. G., 1999. "GMM estimation with cross sectional dependence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-45, September.
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  20. Lakshmi Iyer, 2005. "Direct versus Indirect Colonial Rule in India: Long-term Consequences," Harvard Business School Working Papers 05-041, Harvard Business School, revised Nov 2008.
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