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Slavery, Institutional Development, and Long-Run Growth in Africa, 1400--2000

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  • Nathan Nunn

    (University of Toronto)

Abstract

Can Africa's current state of under-development be partially attributed to the large trade in slaves that occurred during the Atlantic, Saharan, Red Sea and Indian Ocean slave trades? To answer this question, I combine shipping data with historical records that report slave ethnicities and construct measures of the number of slaves exported from each country in Africa between 1400 and 1913. I find the number of slaves exported from a country to be an important determinant of economic performance in the second half of the 20th century. To correct for potential biases arising from measurement error and unobservable country characteristics, I instrument slave exports using measures of the distance from each country to the major slave markets around the world. I also find that the importance of the slave trade for contemporary development is a result of its detrimental impact on the formation of domestic institutions, such as the security of private property, the quality of the judicial system, and the overall rule of law. This is the channel through which the slave trade continues to matter today.

Suggested Citation

  • Nathan Nunn, 2004. "Slavery, Institutional Development, and Long-Run Growth in Africa, 1400--2000," International Trade 0411007, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpit:0411007
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 48
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    1. Slavery and institutional development in Africa
      by Jim in Our Word is Our Weapon on 2009-09-24 02:43:40

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Slave trade; Institutions; Africa; Growth;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • F2 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business

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