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History Matters: The Long Term Impact of Colonial Public Investments in French West Africa

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  • Elise Huillery

    (Université Paris-Dauphine)

Abstract

To what extent do colonial public investments continue to influence current regional inequalities in French-speaking West Africa? Using a new database and the spatial discontinuities of colonial investment policy, this paper gives evidence that early colonial investments had large and persistent effects on current outcomes. The nature of investments also matters. Current educational outcomes have been more specifically determined by colonial investments in education rather than health and infrastructures, and vice versa. I show that a major channel for this historical dependency is a strong persistence of investments; regions that got more at the early colonial times continued to get more.

Suggested Citation

  • Elise Huillery, 2009. "History Matters: The Long Term Impact of Colonial Public Investments in French West Africa," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/10262, Sciences Po.
  • Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/10262
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay & Elliott Green, 2011. "The Reversal of Fortune Thesis Reconsidered," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(7), pages 817-831, December.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N37 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Africa; Oceania
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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