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On the Institutional Legacy of Mercantilist and Imperialist Colonialism

Ola Olsson ()

No 247, Working Papers in Economics from University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics

Abstract: The article features a temporal approach to modelling the social impact of Western colonialism. We collect a data set for all former colonies and dependencies that are regarded as countries today (143 observations). Our data, as well as existing theory, suggest that the very heterogeneous era of colonization might be divided into an early ’mercantilist’ wave and a much later ’imperialist’ wave with quite different characteristics. We demonstrate that a commonly used determinant of institutional quality - colonial settler mortality - had a much weaker effect on institutional outcomes during the imperialist scramble for Africa. When we broaden the analysis, it is shown that the positive effect of colonial duration on democracy is strongest among countries colonized during the imperialist era. Controlling for colonial duration, our results further indicate that a long history of statehood is bad for democracy while there is almost no effect of the national identity of the colonizer.

Keywords: colonialism; democracy; institutions; development; settler mortality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N40 N50 P33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr and nep-his
Date: 2007-03-09
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0247

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