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Ecology, trade and states in pre-colonial Africa

  • Fenske, James

I test Bates' view that trade across ecological divides promoted the development of states in pre-colonial Africa. My main result is that sub-Saharan societies in ecologically diverse environments had more centralized pre-colonial states. I use spatial variation in rainfall to control for possible endogeneity. I construct artificial societies and present narrative evidence to show the results are not due to conquest of trading regions. I also test mechanisms by which trade may have caused states, and find that trade supported class stratification between rulers and ruled.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 27203.

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Date of creation: Dec 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:27203
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