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Colonial legacy, state-building and the salience of ethnicity in Sub-Saharan Africa

Merima Ali, Odd Fjeldstad (), Boqian Jiang () and Abdulaziz Shifa ()

No 16, CMI Working Papers from CMI (Chr. Michelsen Institute), Bergen, Norway

Abstract: Ethnicity has received increased attention in studies of Africa's economic and institutional development. We present evidence on the long-term effects of Britain's "divide-and-rule" colonial strategy that deliberately fostered ethnic rivalries to weaken and control locals. Using micro data from Sub-Saharan Africa, we found that citizens of Anglophone (as compared to Francophone) countries are more likely to: (1) attach greater importance to ethnic identity (vis-a-vis national identity); (2) have weaker norms against tax evasion; and (3) face extortion by non state actors. We address endogeneity concerns using IV regression and regression-discontinuity. These results suggest that Britain's divide-and-rule strategy may have undermined state-building.

Keywords: Colonial legacy; development; ethnicity; state capacity; Sub-Saharan Africa; tax; tax evasion (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 40 pages
Date: 2015
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr, nep-dev and nep-iue
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Related works:
Journal Article: Colonial Legacy, State-building and the Salience of Ethnicity in Sub-Saharan Africa (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: Colonial Legacy, State-building and the Salience of Ethnicity in Sub-Saharan Africa (2018) Downloads
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