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Land abundance and economic institutions: Egba land and slavery, 1830-1914

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  • Fenske, James

Abstract

The ``land abundance'' view of African history uses sparse population to explain economic institutions. I provide supporting evidence from the Egba of Nigeria. I use early colonial court records to show that Egba institutions fit the theory's predictions. Before 1914, the Egba had poorly defined land rights, practiced extensive agriculture, relied on dependant and forced labor, and used labor to secure loans. There are two major exceptions. First, the Egba sold some land. Second, land disputes existed. These are explained by land scarcity when the Egba initially arrived at Abeokuta and by heterogeneity in the quality of land.

Suggested Citation

  • Fenske, James, 2010. "Land abundance and economic institutions: Egba land and slavery, 1830-1914," MPRA Paper 22959, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:22959
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jacobus Cilliers, 2013. "Coercion, Conflict, and Commodities," OxCarre Working Papers 113, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
    2. Ryan Bubb, 2013. "The Evolution of Property Rights: State Law or Informal Norms?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(3), pages 555-594.
    3. Gareth Austin & Stephen Broadberry, 2014. "Introduction: The renaissance of African economic history," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(4), pages 893-906, November.
    4. James Fenske, 2012. ""Rubber will not keep in this country": Failed Development in Benin, 1897-1921," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _108, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    5. Fenske, James, 2013. "“Rubber will not keep in this country”: Failed development in Benin, 1897–1921," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 316-333.
    6. Alexander Klein & Sheilagh Ogilvie, 2017. "Was Domar Right? Serfdom and Factor Endowments in Bohemia," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 344, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    7. Lindert, Peter H. & Nafziger, Steven, 2014. "Russian Inequality on the Eve of Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 74(03), pages 767-798, September.
    8. Tracy Dennison & Steven Nafziger, 2011. "Micro-Perspectives on Living Standards in Nineteenth-Century Russia," Department of Economics Working Papers 2011-07, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    9. Fenske, James, 2013. "“Rubber will not keep in this country”: Failed development in Benin, 1897–1921," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 316-333.
    10. Bezemer, Dirk & Bolt, Jutta & Lensink, Robert, 2014. "Slavery, Statehood, and Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 148-163.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Africa; Nigeria; Property rights; land tenure; slavery; polygyny;

    JEL classification:

    • N17 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Africa; Oceania
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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