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Ecology, Trade and States in Pre-Colonial Africa

  • James Fenske

State capacity matters for growth.� I test Bates' explanation of pre-colonial African states.� He argues that trade across ecological boundaries promoted states.� I find that African societies in ecologically diverse environments had more centralized states.� This is robust to reverse causation, omitted heterogeneity, and alternative interpretations of the link between diversity and states.� Ecological diversity also predicts states outside of Africa.� I test mechanisms connecting trade to states, and find that trade supported class stratification between rulers and ruled.� I underscore the importance of ethnic institutions and inform our knowledge of the effects of geography and trade on institutions.

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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number WPF/2012-18.

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Date of creation: 05 Nov 2012
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:wpf/2012-18
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