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Pacification and Gender in Colonial Africa: Evidence from the Ethnographic Atlas

Morgan Henderson and Warren Whatley

MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany

Abstract: We combine the date-of-observation found in Murdock’s Ethnographic Atlas and a newly-constructed dataset on the date-of-colonization at the ethnic-group level to study the effects of the duration of colonial rule on a variety of political, economic, and social characteristics of ethnic groups in Africa. We find that the duration of colonial rule caused a dramatic shift in gender roles in Africa by increasing the relative status of men in lineage and inheritance systems but also reducing polygyny as a marriage system. A causal role for the duration of colonial rule is confirmed by a difference-in-difference analysis that uses never-colonized ethnic groups as a control group and by an analysis of changes in kinship terminology that tests for within-group changes in descent and inheritance rules. We are able to rule out missionary influence and Islam as mechanisms for these effects.

Keywords: Colonialism; Africa; Property Rights; Gender; Family Structure (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J12 N47 O15 P48 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014-12-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-evo
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (11)

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