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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 caused by the colonial border drawing, 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 a wealth of observable characteristics. Second, using geo-referenced data on conflict and exploiting within-country variation, we show 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 and conflict between government forces and rebels that aim at countering state authority 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. Finally, using micro-level data we find that individuals identifying with split groups have lower access to public goods and lower education. 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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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17620
Note: EFG IFM POL
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  1. Michalopoulos, Stelios & Papaioannou, Elias, 2013. "National Institutions and Subnational Development in Africa," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 154, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  2. Conley, T. G., 1999. "GMM estimation with cross sectional dependence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-45, September.
  3. Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William & Alesina, Alberto, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," Scholarly Articles 4551797, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Naritomi, Joana & Soares, Rodrigo R. & Assunção, Juliano J., 2009. "Institutional Development and Colonial Heritage within Brazil," IZA Discussion Papers 4276, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Alberto Alesina & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2008. "Segregation and the Quality of Government in a Cross-Section of Countries," Working Papers w0120, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  6. Elise Huillery, 2009. "History Matters: The Long Term Impact of Colonial Public Investments in French West Africa," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/10262, Sciences Po.
  7. Stelios Michalopoulos, 2012. "The Origins of Ethnolinguistic Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1508-39, June.
  8. James Fenske, 2013. "Does Land Abundance Explain African Institutions?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(12), pages 1363-1390, December.
  9. Montalvo, Jose G. & Reynal-Querol, Marta, 2005. "Ethnic diversity and economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 293-323, April.
  10. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 2012. "The European Origins of Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 18162, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Aghion, Philippe & Alesina, Alberto F & Trebbi, Francesco, 2002. "Endogenous Political Institutions," CEPR Discussion Papers 3473, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Cervellati, Matteo & Sunde, Uwe & Valmori, Simona, 2011. "Disease Environment and Civil Conflicts," IZA Discussion Papers 5614, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2011. "Divide and Rule or the Rule of the Divided? Evidence from Africa," Economics Working Papers 0099, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  14. James Fenske, 2009. "Does Land Abundance Explain African Institutions?," Working Papers 981, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  15. Oded Galor, 2005. "Unified Growth Theory," Development and Comp Systems 0504001, EconWPA.
  16. J. M. C. Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro & Frank Windmeijer, 2010. "Is it different for zeros? Discriminating between models for non-negative data with many zeros," CeMMAP working papers CWP20/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  17. 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.
  18. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler & Måns Söderbom, 2004. "On the Duration of Civil War," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 41(3), pages 253-273, May.
  19. Bosker, Maarten & de Ree, Joppe, 2010. "Ethnicity and the spread of civil war," CEPR Discussion Papers 8055, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Lakshmi Iyer, 2010. "Direct versus Indirect Colonial Rule in India: Long-Term Consequences," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 693-713, November.
  21. James D. Fearon, 2004. "Why Do Some Civil Wars Last So Much Longer than Others?," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 41(3), pages 275-301, May.
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