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Did colonization matter for growth? An empirical exploration into the historical causes of Africa's underdevelopment

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  • Graziella Bertocchi
  • Fabio Canova

Abstract

We investigate the impact of 20th--century European colonization on growth in Africa. We find that in the 1960--88 period growth has been faster for dependencies than for colonies; for British and French colonies than for Portuguese, Belgian and Italian ones; and for countries with less economic penetration during the colonial period. On average, African growth accelerates after decolonization. Proxies for colonial heritage add explanatory power to growth regressions and make indicators for human capital, political and ethnic instability lose significance. Colonial variables capture the same effects of a sub--Saharan dummy and reduce its significance when jointly included in a cross sectional regression with 98 countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Graziella Bertocchi & Fabio Canova, 1996. "Did colonization matter for growth? An empirical exploration into the historical causes of Africa's underdevelopment," Economics Working Papers 202, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:202
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Colonization; growth; Africa;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E00 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - General
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative

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