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The Black Man's Burden: The Cost of Colonization of French West Africa

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  • Elise Huillery

    (Département d'économie)

Abstract

Was colonization costly for France? Did French taxpayers contribute to colonies’ development? This article reveals that French West Africa’s colonization took only 0.29 percent of French annual expenditures, including 0.24 percent for military and central administration and 0.05 percent for French West Africa’s development. For West Africans, the contribution from French taxpayers was almost negligible: mainland France provided about 2 percent of French West Africa’s revenue. In fact, colonization was a considerable burden for African taxpayers since French civil servants’ salaries absorbed a disproportionate share of local expenditures.

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  • Elise Huillery, 2014. "The Black Man's Burden: The Cost of Colonization of French West Africa," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/24502lcc1r9, Sciences Po.
  • Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/24502lcc1r91eqi8qjsc2299mq
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Elise Huillery, 2009. "History Matters: The Long-Term Impact of Colonial Public Investments in French West Africa," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 176-215, April.
    2. James Foreman-Peck, 1989. "Foreign investment and imperial exploitation: balance of payments reconstruction for nineteenth-century Britain and India," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 42(3), pages 354-374, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Baten, Jörg & Cappelli, Gabriele, 2016. "The Evolution of Human Capital in Africa, 1730 -1970: A Colonial Legacy?," CEPR Discussion Papers 11273, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Kodila-Tedika, Oasis & Asongu, Simplice & Cinyabuguma, Matthias, 2016. "The White Man’s Burden: On the Effect of African Resistance to European Domination," MPRA Paper 74228, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. repec:eee:exehis:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:1-20 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Guido Alfani & Federico Tadei, 2017. "Income Inequality in Colonial Africa: Building Social Tables for Pre-Independence Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, and Senegal," Working Papers 594, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    5. Cornelius Christian & James Fenske, 2015. "Economic shocks and unrest in French West Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series 2015-01, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    6. Kodila-Tedika, Oasis & Asongu, Simplice, 2018. "The Long-Term Effects of African Resistance to European Domination: Institutional Mechanism," MPRA Paper 85237, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Maravall Buckwalter, Laura, 2017. "Factor Endowments and Farm Structure : Algerian Settler Agriculture During the First Globalization (1870-1914)," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH 26085, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
    8. Federico Tadei, 2014. "Extractive Institutions and Gains From Trade: Evidence from Colonial Africa," Working Papers 536, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.

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