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The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa

Stelios Michalopoulos () and Elias Papaioannou ()

No 8676, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: We examine the long-run consequences of the scramble for Africa among European powers in the late 19th century and uncover the following empirical regularities. First, using information on the spatial distribution of African ethnicities before colonization, we show that borders were arbitrarily drawn. Apart from the land mass and water area of an ethnicity's historical homeland, no other geographic, ecological, historical, and ethnic-specific traits predict which ethnic groups have been partitioned by the national border. Second, using data on the location of civil conflicts after independence, we show that partitioned ethnic groups have suffered significantly more warfare; moreover, partitioned ethnicities have experienced more prolonged and more devastating civil wars. Third, we identify sizeable spillovers; civil conflict spreads from the homeland of partitioned ethnicities to nearby ethnic regions. These results are robust to a rich set of controls at a fine level and the inclusion of country fixed effects and ethnic-family fixed effects. The uncovered evidence thus identifies a sizable causal impact of the scramble for Africa on warfare.

Keywords: Africa; borders; conflict; development; ethnicities (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N17 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr and nep-dev
Date: 2011-11
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Related works:
Journal Article: The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa (2013) Downloads
Working Paper: The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa (2011) Downloads
Working Paper: The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa (2011) Downloads
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