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How Does Colonial Origin Matter for Economic Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa?


  • Julius A. Agbor


This paper investigates some of the existing hypotheses regarding the transmission of different colonial legacies to modern day economic growth. The fact that different colonial strategies were pursued by different colonizers in various territories suggests possible ramifications for current development paths. This paper attempts to understand why economic growth performance is different even among African countries, where former British colonies appear to do marginally better. It focuses on two key channels of transmission, namely education and trade. Thirty-six sub-Saharan African countries during the period 1960–2000 are considered using Hausman-Taylor estimation techniquein an annualized panel data framework. In contrast with the methodology of previous studieswhere only the initial conditions at independence were held to influence the post-colonialgrowth path, this study attempts to distinguish the direct …/

Suggested Citation

  • Julius A. Agbor, 2011. "How Does Colonial Origin Matter for Economic Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa?," WIDER Working Paper Series 027, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2011-27

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jacek Rostowski & Bogdan Stacescu, 2006. "The Wig and the Pith Helmet - the Impact of "Legal School" versus Colonial Institutions on Economic Performance (second version)," CASE Network Studies and Analyses 0300, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.
    2. Grier, Robin M, 1999. "Colonial Legacies and Economic Growth," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 317-335, March.
    3. Abhijit Banerjee & Lakshmi Iyer, 2005. "History, Institutions, and Economic Performance: The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1190-1213, September.
    4. Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 271-303, September.
    5. repec:hrv:faseco:30728041 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Gregory N. Price, 2003. "Economic Growth in a Cross-section of Nonindustrial Countries: Does Colonial Heritage Matter for Africa?," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 478-495, August.
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    More about this item


    colonial origin; education; institutions; Hausman-Taylor; sub-Saharan Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • F54 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Colonialism; Imperialism; Postcolonialism
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • N17 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Africa; Oceania


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