NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

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.

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This paper was revised on October 2, 2013

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17620

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