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National Institutions and Subnational Development in Africa

  • Stelios Michalopoulos
  • Elias Papaioannou

We investigate the role of national institutions on subnational African development in a novel framework that accounts both for local geography and cultural-genetic traits. We exploit the fact that the political boundaries in the eve of African independence partitioned more than two hundred ethnic groups across adjacent countries subjecting similar cultures, residing in homogeneous geographic areas, to different formal institutions. Using both a matching-type and a spatial regression discontinuity approach we show that differences in countrywide institutional structures across the national border do not explain within-ethnicity differences in economic performance, as captured by satellite images of light density. The average non-effect of national institutions on ethnic development masks considerable heterogeneity partially driven by the diminishing role of national institutions in areas further from the capital cities.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w18275.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18275.

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Date of creation: Aug 2012
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Publication status: published as Elias Papaioannou, 2014. "National Institutions and Subnational Development in Africa," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(1), pages 151-213.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18275
Note: EFG IFM POL
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  1. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2011. "Divide and Rule or the Rule of the Divided? Evidence from Africa," NBER Working Papers 17184, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2011. "The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa," NBER Working Papers 17620, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Stelios Michalopoulos & Alireza Naghavi & Giovanni Prarolo, 2012. "Trade and Geography in the Origins and Spread of Islam," Working Papers 2012-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
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