IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/23120/1/MPRA_paper_23120.pdf
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/24458/2/MPRA_paper_24458.pdf
File Function: revised version
Download Restriction: no

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

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Apr 2010
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:23120
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany

Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2459
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-992459
Web page: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Gould, Eric D. & Moav, Omer & Simhon, Avi, 2003. "The Mystery Of Monogamy," Discussion Papers 14992, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Department of Agricultural Economics and Management.
  2. Paul Collier, 2006. "Africa : geography and growth," TEN, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Fall, pages 18-21.
  3. Habyarimana, James P. & Humphreys, Macartan & Posner, Daniel N. & Weinstein, Jeremy, 2006. "Why Does Ethnic Diversity Undermine Public Goods Provision? An Experimental Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 2272, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2010. "The "Out of Africa" Hypothesis, Human Genetic Diversity, and Comparative Economic Development," Center for Development Economics 2010-03, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Dec 2012.
  5. Jonathan Conning, 2004. "The Causes of Slavery or Serfdom and the Roads to Agrarian Capitalism: Domar's Hypothesis Revisited," Economics Working Paper Archive at Hunter College 401, Hunter College Department of Economics.
  6. Graziella Bertocchi & Andrea Guerzoni, 2010. "Growth, History, or Institutions? What Explains State Fragility in Sub-Saharan Africa," Department of Economics 0625, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
  7. Bigsten, Arne & Kimuyu, Peter & Lundvall, Karl, 2000. "Informality, Ethnicity and Productivity: Evidence from Small Manufacturers in Kenya," Working Papers in Economics 27, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  8. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2003. "Unbundling Institutions," NBER Working Papers 9934, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
  10. Rodrik, Dani, 1996. "Why do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1388, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Bertocchi, Graziella & Canova, Fabio, 2002. "Did colonization matter for growth?: An empirical exploration into the historical causes of Africa's underdevelopment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1851-1871, December.
  12. La Porta, Rafael & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. " Legal Determinants of External Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(3), pages 1131-1150, July.
  13. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2008. "Human Genetic Diversity and Comparative Economic Development," 2008 Meeting Papers 617, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  14. Jan Willem Gunning & Paul Collier, 1999. "Explaining African Economic Performance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 64-111, March.
  15. Marina E. Adshade & Brooks A. Kaiser, 2008. "The Origins of the Institutions of Marriage," Working Papers 1180, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  16. Nathan Nunn & Diego Puga, 2007. "Ruggedness: The blessing of bad geography in Africa," Working Papers 2007-09, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales, revised 01 May 2010.
  17. 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.
  18. Englebert, Pierre, 2000. "Solving the Mystery of the AFRICA Dummy," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(10), pages 1821-1835, October.
  19. Dani Rodrik & Arvind Subramanian & Francesco Trebbi, 2004. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions Over Geography and Integration in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 131-165, 06.
  20. Nathan Nunn, 2010. "Religious Conversion in Colonial Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 147-52, May.
  21. E. W. Evans & David Richardson, 1995. "Hunting for rents: the economics of slaving in pre-colonial Africa," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 48(4), pages 665-686, November.
  22. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Process of Global Integration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 1-118.
  23. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294.
  24. La Ferrara, Eliana, 2003. "Kin Groups and Reciprocity: A Model of Credit Transactions in Ghana," CEPR Discussion Papers 3705, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  25. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?," NBER Working Papers 6564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Jonathan Isham & Michael Woolcock & Lant Pritchett & Gwen Busby, 2005. "The Varieties of Resource Experience: Natural Resource Export Structures and the Political Economy of Economic Growth," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 19(2), pages 141-174.
  27. Nathan Nunn, 2009. "The Importance of History for Economic Development," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 65-92, 05.
  28. Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2010. "Climate Shocks and Exports," NBER Working Papers 15711, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Barro, R.J., 1989. "Economic Growth In A Cross Section Of Countries," RCER Working Papers 201, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  30. William Easterly, 2009. "Can the West Save Africa?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 373-447, June.
  31. Sachs, J-D & Warner, A-M, 1996. "Sources of Slow Growth in African Economies," Papers 545, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  32. Camilo García-Jimeno & James A. Robinson, 2008. "The Myth of the Frontier," NBER Chapters, in: Understanding Long-Run Economic Growth: Geography, Institutions, and the Knowledge Economy, pages 49-88 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  33. William Easterly & Tobias Pfutze, 2008. "Where Does the Money Go? Best and Worst Practices in Foreign Aid," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 29-52, Spring.
  34. Collier, Paul & Dollar, David, 1999. "Aid allocation and poverty reduction," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2041, The World Bank.
  35. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A & Yared, Pierre, 2007. "Reevaluating the Modernization Hypothesis," CEPR Discussion Papers 6430, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  36. 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.
  37. Morten Jerven, 2011. "The quest for the African dummy: explaining African post‐colonial economic performance revisited," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(2), pages 288-307, March.
  38. David L. Bevan & Augustin Kwasi Fosu, 2003. "Globalisation: An Overview," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 12(Supplemen), pages 1-13, February.
  39. Markus Goldstein & Christopher Udry, 2008. "The Profits of Power: Land Rights and Agricultural Investment in Ghana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(6), pages 981-1022, December.
  40. Grier, Robin M, 1999. "Colonial Legacies and Economic Growth," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 317-35, March.
  41. Louis Putterman & Valerie Bockstette, 2000. "States and Markets:the Advantage of an Early Start," Working Papers 2000-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  42. Elise Huillery, 2009. "History Matters: The Long-Term Impact of Colonial Public Investments in French West Africa," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 176-215, April.
  43. Fafchamps, Marcel, 2000. "Ethnicity and credit in African manufacturing," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 205-235, February.
  44. Jean–paul Azam & Augustin Fosu & Njuguna Ndung’u, 2002. "Explaining Slow Growth in Africa," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 14(2), pages 177-220.
  45. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A, 2002. "An African Success Story: Botswana," CEPR Discussion Papers 3219, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  46. Fenoaltea, Stefano, 1984. "Slavery and Supervision in Comparative Perspective: A Model," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(03), pages 635-668, September.
  47. Dani Rodrik, 2000. "Trade Policy Reform as Institutional Reform," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 8750, Inter-American Development Bank.
  48. Jutta Bolt & Dirk Bezemer, 2009. "Understanding Long-Run African Growth: Colonial Institutions or Colonial Education?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(1), pages 24-54.
  49. Michele Tertilt, 2005. "Polygyny, Fertility, and Savings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1341-1370, December.
  50. Grossbard-Shechtman, Amyra, 1986. "Economic behavior, marriage and fertility : Two lessons from polygyny," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 415-424, December.
  51. Lakshmi Iyer, 2010. "Direct versus Indirect Colonial Rule in India: Long-Term Consequences," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 693-713, November.
  52. 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.
  53. Easterly, William, 2001. "Can Institutions Resolve Ethnic Conflict?," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(4), pages 687-706, July.
  54. Easterly, William, 2007. "Inequality does cause underdevelopment: Insights from a new instrument," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 755-776, November.
  55. Gregory N. Price, 2003. "Economic Growth in a Cross-section of Nonindustrial Countries: Does Colonial Heritage Matter for Africa?," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 478-495, 08.
  56. Johan Walt, 2009. "Dead aid: Why aid is not working and how there is a better way for Africa," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 22(4), pages 431-432, December.
  57. Lange, Matthew K., 2004. "British Colonial Legacies and Political Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 905-922, June.
  58. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2005. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Scholarly Articles 4553005, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  59. Barro, Robert J, 1996. "Democracy and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-27, March.
  60. Guinnane Timothy W., 2005. "Trust: A Concept Too Many," Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook, De Gruyter, vol. 46(1), pages 77-92, June.
  61. Domar, Evsey D., 1970. "The Causes of Slavery or Serfdom: A Hypothesis," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 30(01), pages 18-32, March.
  62. Tavares, Jose & Wacziarg, Romain, 2001. "How democracy affects growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(8), pages 1341-1378, August.
  63. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
  64. Olsson, Ola, 2009. "On the democratic legacy of colonialism," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 534-551, December.
  65. Denis Cogneau, 2003. "Colonisation, School and Development in Africa. An empirical analysis," Working Papers DT/2003/01, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  66. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
  67. Elise Huillery, 2011. "The Impact of European Settlement within French West Africa: Did Pre-colonial Prosperous Areas Fall Behind?," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 20(2), pages 263-311, March.
  68. La Ferrara, Eliana, 2007. "Descent rules and strategic transfers. Evidence from matrilineal groups in Ghana," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 280-301, July.
  69. Shang-Jin Wei, 2003. "Risk and Reward of Embracing Globalisation: The Governance Factor," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 12(Supplemen), pages 73-119, February.
  70. North, Douglass C. & Thomas, Robert Paul, 1971. "The Rise and Fall of the Manorial System: A Theoretical Model," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(04), pages 777-803, December.
  71. Paolo Mauro, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712.
  72. S. Ibi Ajayi, 2003. "Globalisation and Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 12(Supplemen), pages 120-150, February.
  73. Fenoaltea, Stefano, 1975. "The Rise and Fall of A Theoretical Model: The Manorial System," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(02), pages 386-409, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:23120. 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: (Joachim Winter)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.