IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/pra/mprapa/113201.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Tubers and its Role in Historic Political Fragmentation in Africa

Author

Listed:
  • Obikili, Nonso

Abstract

This paper examines the link between historical political fragmentation and surplus agricultural production, and the impact of natural endowments with regards to crop suitability. I show that in sub-Saharan Africa, groups that cultivated tubers, specifically yams, were more likely to have higher levels of local political fragmentation. I show that both tubers and most cereals were positively correlated with historic population density and that there was no historic discrimination in the capacity of crops to produce surpluses and support large populations. I however show that unlike cereal cultivators who were more likely to be centralized, tuber cultivators were likely to have more local political fragmentation. I use crop suitability and the proximity to the area of the domestication of yams to show that cultivating yams did lead to more local political fragmentation. I argue that this is likely due to the biological properties of yams which make them more difficult to expropriate and implies that surpluses stay local. I argue that the experience of keeping surpluses local is associated with contemporary social norms that are against autocracy and unitary accumulation of power. These social norms are an example of the mechanism through which these historical institutional structures transmit to contemporary times.

Suggested Citation

  • Obikili, Nonso, 2022. "Tubers and its Role in Historic Political Fragmentation in Africa," MPRA Paper 113201, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:113201
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/113201/1/MPRA_paper_113201.pdf
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
    2. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2011. "Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2003-2041, August.
    3. Marcella Alsan, 2015. "The Effect of the TseTse Fly on African Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(1), pages 382-410, January.
    4. Oded Galor & Ömer Özak, 2016. "The Agricultural Origins of Time Preference," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(10), pages 3064-3103, October.
    5. Elias Papaioannou, 2014. "National Institutions and Subnational Development in Africa," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(1), pages 151-213.
    6. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    7. Nicola Gennaioli & Ilia Rainer, 2007. "The modern impact of precolonial centralization in Africa," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 185-234, September.
    8. repec:hrv:faseco:30747160 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Nathan Nunn, 2010. "Religious Conversion in Colonial Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 147-152, May.
    10. Nathan Nunn, 2008. "The Long-term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 139-176.
    11. Joram Mayshar & Omer Moav & Luigi Pascali, 2022. "The Origin of the State: Land Productivity or Appropriability?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 130(4), pages 1091-1144.
    12. repec:oup:qjecon:v:129:y:2013:i:1:p:151-213 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Bockstette, Valerie & Chanda, Areendam & Putterman, Louis, 2002. "States and Markets: The Advantage of an Early Start," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 347-369, December.
    14. Warren Whatley & Rob Gillezeau, 2011. "The Impact of the Transatlantic Slave Trade on Ethnic Stratification in Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 571-576, May.
    15. Olson, Mancur, 1993. "Dictatorship, Democracy, and Development," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 567-576, September.
    16. Jeffrey Sachs & Pia Malaney, 2002. "The economic and social burden of malaria," Nature, Nature, vol. 415(6872), pages 680-685, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Broich, Tobias & Szirmai, Adam & Thomsson, Kaj, 2015. "Precolonial centralisation, foreign aid and modern state capacity in Africa," MERIT Working Papers 2015-025, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    2. Cherniwchan, Jevan & Moreno-Cruz, Juan, 2019. "Maize and precolonial Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 137-150.
    3. Maseland, Robbert, 2021. "Contingent determinants," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 151(C).
    4. C. Cook, 2014. "The role of lactase persistence in precolonial development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 369-406, December.
    5. Okoye, Dozie, 2021. "Things fall apart? Missions, institutions, and interpersonal trust," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 148(C).
    6. Kodila-Tedika, Oasis & Asongu, Simplice, 2018. "The Long-Term Effects of African Resistance to European Domination: Institutional Mechanism," MPRA Paper 85237, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Graziella Bertocchi, 2016. "The legacies of slavery in and out of Africa," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-19, December.
    8. Fenske, James, 2010. "Institutions in African history and development: A review essay," MPRA Paper 23120, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Leonardo M. Klüppel & Lamar Pierce & Jason A. Snyder, 2018. "Perspective—The Deep Historical Roots of Organization and Strategy: Traumatic Shocks, Culture, and Institutions," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(4), pages 702-721, August.
    10. Messono, Omang & Asongu, Simplice, 2021. "Historical Prevalence of Infectious Diseases and Entrepreneurship: the Role of Institutions in 125 Countries," MPRA Paper 111842, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Alberto Alesina & Sebastian Hohmann & Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2021. "Intergenerational Mobility in Africa," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 89(1), pages 1-35, January.
    12. Thomas Dohmen & Benjamin Enke & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2016. "Patience and the Wealth of Nations," Working Papers 2016-012, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    13. James Fenske, 2014. "Ecology, Trade, And States In Pre-Colonial Africa," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 612-640, June.
    14. Cemal Eren Arbatlı & Quamrul H. Ashraf & Oded Galor & Marc Klemp, 2020. "Diversity and Conflict," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 88(2), pages 727-797, March.
    15. Graziella Bertocchi, 2016. "The Legacies of Slavery in and out of Africa," Department of Economics 0096, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    16. Bennett, Daniel L. & Faria, Hugo J. & Gwartney, James D. & Morales, Daniel R., 2017. "Economic Institutions and Comparative Economic Development: A Post-Colonial Perspective," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 503-519.
    17. Johnson, Noel D. & Koyama, Mark, 2017. "States and economic growth: Capacity and constraints," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 1-20.
    18. 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.
    19. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 2016. "The European origins of economic development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 225-257, September.
    20. Cervellati, Matteo & Esposito, Elena & Sunde, Uwe & Yuan, Song, 2022. "Malaria and Chinese economic activities in Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 154(C).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Political Fragmentation; Agriculture; Social Norms; Africa;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • N47 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Africa; Oceania
    • N57 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Africa; Oceania
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:113201. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/vfmunde.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Joachim Winter (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/vfmunde.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.