Settler skills and colonial development
The emphasis on location-specific factors, such as climate or disease environment, in the explanation of development outcomes in colonial societies implicitly assumes that settler groups were homogenous. Using tax records, this paper shows that the French Huguenots who immigrated to Dutch South Africa at the end of the 17th century were more productive wine-makers than the already-established non-French farmers. Standard factors of production usually associated with faster growth do not explain the differences between the two groups. We posit that the skills of the Huguenots â€” the ability to make quality wines â€” provided a sustainable competitive advantage that not only explains initial but persistent productivity differences. We test this hypothesis by dividing the French settlers into two groups â€” those originating from wine regions, and those from wheat regions â€” and comparing them with other settler groups. Potential differences between the French (overall) and the Dutch may be attributable to institutional and cultural differences, while variations within the French group are more likely to be skill-related. This intuitive but important insight â€” that home-country production determines settler-society productivity, even in later generations â€” sheds new light on our understanding of how newly settled colonial societies develop, and of the importance of knowledge and skills in economic growth.
|Date of creation:||2011|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Newlands on Main, F0301 3rd Floor Mariendahl House, cnr Campground and Main Rds, Claremont, 7700 Cape Town|
Phone: 021 671-3980
Fax: +27 21 671 3912
Web page: http://www.econrsa.org/
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Olsson, Ola & Hibbs, Douglas Jr., 2005.
"Biogeography and long-run economic development,"
European Economic Review,
Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 909-938, May.
- A'Hearn, Brian & Baten, Jörg & Crayen, Dorothee, 2009.
"Quantifying Quantitative Literacy: Age Heaping and the History of Human Capital,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
7277, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- A'Hearn, Brian & Baten, Jörg & Crayen, Dorothee, 2009. "Quantifying Quantitative Literacy: Age Heaping and the History of Human Capital," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(03), pages 783-808, September.
- Brian A'Hearn & Jörg Baten & Dorothee Crayen, 2006. "Quantifying quantitative literacy: Age heaping and the history of human capital," Economics Working Papers 996, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:213. 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: (Charles Tanton)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.