The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa

Stelios Michalopoulos, Elias Papaioannou

NBER Working Paper No. 17620
Issued in November 2011
NBER Program(s):   EFG   IFM   POL

We examine the long-run consequences of a neglected aspect of colonization, the artificial drawing of borders during the Scramble for Africa and uncover the following empirical regularities. First, apart from the land mass and water area, no other pre-colonial trait predicts a group’s partitioning. Second, using georeferenced data on conflict we show that battles, violence against civilians and territorial changes are concentrated in the historical homeland of partitioned ethnicities. Third, we show that individuals identifying with split groups are on average poorer and less educated. The uncovered evidence brings in the foreground the violent repercussions of ethnic partitioning.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from ($5) for electronic delivery.

Information about Free Papers

You should expect a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.


This paper was revised on October 2, 2013

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17620

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Nunn w13367 The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades
Nunn and Wantchekon w14783 The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa
Heldring and Robinson w18566 Colonialism and Economic Development in Africa
Michalopoulos and Papaioannou w17184 Divide and Rule or the Rule of the Divided? Evidence from Africa
Michalopoulos and Papaioannou w18224 Pre-colonial Ethnic Institutions and Contemporary African Development
NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us