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

  • Elise Huillery

    (Département d'économie)

Was colonization costly for France? Did French taxpayers contribute to colonies' development? This paper 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 two 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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File URL: http://spire.sciencespo.fr/hdl:/2441/7o52iohb7k6srk09na41pc24o/resources/s0022050714000011a.pdf
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Paper provided by Sciences Po in its series Sciences Po publications with number info:hdl:2441/7o52iohb7k6srk09na41pc24o.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Economic History, 2013, vol. 74, pp.1-38
Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/7o52iohb7k6srk09na41pc24o
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.sciencespo.fr/

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  1. Head, Keith & Mayer, Thierry & Ries, John, 2008. "The Erosion of Colonial Trade Linkages After Independence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6951, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Abhijit Banerjee & Lakshmi Iyer, 2010. "History Institutions and Economic Performance: The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India," Working Papers id:2811, eSocialSciences.
  3. 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, 08.
  4. 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.
  5. Fitzgerald, Edward Peter, 1988. "Did France's Colonial Empire Make Economic Sense? A Perspective from the Postwar Decade, 1946–1956," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(02), pages 373-385, June.
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