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Institutions in African history and development: A review essay

  • Fenske, James

In this review, I discuss the role of African institutions in general and pre-colonial institutions in particular in explaining present-day African poverty. Six of the most often cited explanations of African poverty -- geography, ethnolinguistic fractionalization, the slave trades, colonial rule, underdevelopment, and failed aid -- operate largely through institutions. Bad institutions themselves directly affect modern growth. Pre-colonial institutions also matter for present-day outcomes. I look at four broad institutional types (land tenure, slavery, polygyny and states), outline influential theories that explain why they took the shapes they did before colonial rule, and why they matter to Africa today.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 23120.

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Date of creation: Apr 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:23120
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