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Understanding Long-Run African Growth: Colonial Institutions or Colonial Education? Evidence from a New Data Set

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  • Bolt, Jutta
  • Bezemer, Dirk

Abstract

Long-term growth in developing countries has been explained in four frameworks: ‘extractive colonial institutions’ (Acemoglu et al., 2001), ‘colonial legal origin’ (La Porta et al., 2004) ‘geography’ (Gallup et al., 1998) and ‘colonial human capital’ (Glaeser et al., 2004). In this paper we test the ‘colonial human capital’ explanation for sub-Saharan Africa, controlling for legal origins and geography. Utilizing freshly collected data on colonial-era population density and education, we find that in sub-Saharan Africa, high European population mortality did not lead to low European population densities, contra Acemoglu et al., (2001). Further, we find that instrumented human capital explains long-term growth better, and shows greater stability over time, than instrumented measures for extractive institutions. We therefore suggest that the impact of the disease environment on African long-term growth runs through a human capital channel rather than an extractive-institutions channel. The effect of education is robust to including variables capturing legal origin and geography, which have additional explanatory power. We also find some evidence that institutions are endogenous to education.

Suggested Citation

  • Bolt, Jutta & Bezemer, Dirk, 2008. "Understanding Long-Run African Growth: Colonial Institutions or Colonial Education? Evidence from a New Data Set," MPRA Paper 7029, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:7029
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/7029/1/MPRA_paper_7029.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    1. Easterly and Levine (2012) and the deathly hallows
      by Johan Fourie in Johan Fourie's Blog on 2012-06-28 19:23:02

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    1. Nathan Nunn, 2009. "The Importance of History for Economic Development," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 65-92, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Africa; growth; institutions; education; colonial history;

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • P51 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Analysis of Economic Systems
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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