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Institutions in African history and development: A review essay

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  • Fenske, James

Abstract

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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  • Fenske, James, 2010. "Institutions in African history and development: A review essay," MPRA Paper 23120, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:23120
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    Cited by:

    1. Bertocchi, Graziella, 2011. "Growth, Colonization, and Institutional Development: In and Out of Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 5856, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Jerven, Morten & Austin, Gareth & Green, Erik & Uche, Chibuike & Frankema, Ewout & Fourie, Johan & Inikori, Joseph & Moradi, Alexander & Hillbom, Ellen, 2012. "Moving Forward in African Economic History. Bridging the Gap Between Methods and Sources," Lund Papers in Economic History 124, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    3. Kyriacou, Andreas P. & Velã Squez, Francisco Jos㉠Lã“Pez, 2015. "Inequality and culture in a cross-section of countries," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 141-166, March.
    4. Simon Feeny & Alberto Posso & Jonathan Regan-Beasley, 2015. "Handle with care: fragile states and the determinants of fragility," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(11), pages 1073-1085, March.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Africa; institutions; history; development;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N57 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Africa; Oceania
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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