National Institutions and Subnational Development in Africa
We investigate the role of national institutions on subnational African development in a novel framework that accounts both for local geography and cultural-genetic traits. We exploit the fact that the political boundaries in the eve of African independence partitioned more than two hundred ethnic groups across adjacent countries subjecting similar cultures, residing in homogeneous geographic areas, to different formal institutions. Using both a matching-type and a spatial regression discontinuity approach we show that differences in countrywide institutional structures across the national border do not explain within-ethnicity differences in economic performance, as captured by satellite images of light density. The average non-effect of national institutions on ethnic development masks considerable heterogeneity partially driven by the diminishing role of national institutions in areas further from the capital cities.
We thank seminar participants at Dartmouth, Tufts, Oxford, Vienna, Brown, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, UC-Berkeley, UC-Davis, NYU, AUEB, the CEPR Development Economics Workshop,the CEPR-UPF Workshop on the Political Economy of Development and Conflict, the World Bank, the IMF, the NBER Political Economy Meetings, the NBER Summer Institute Meetings in Economic Growth and Income Distribution and the Macroeconomy for valuable comments. We also benefited from discussions with Yannis Ioannides, Rafael La Porta, Antonio Ciccone, Rob Johnson, Raphael Frank, Jim Feyrer, Ross Levine, Avner Greif, Jeremiah Dittmar, David Weil, Sandip Sukhtankar, Quamrul Ashraf, Oded Galor, Ed Kutsoati, Pauline Grosjean, Hans-Joachim Voth, Enrico Perotti, Pedro Dal Bo, Nathan Nunn, Raquel Fernandez, Jim Robinson, and Enrico Spolaore. We are particularly thankful to Andy Zeitlin, Melissa Dell, Andrei Shleifer, Nico Voightlander, Daron Acemoglu, and seven anonymous referees for detailed comments and useful suggestions. We also thank Nathan Nunn for providing the digitized version of Murdock's Tribal Map of Africa. This paper draws on material from Michalopoulos and Papaioannou ("Divide and Rule or the Rule of the Divided?" 2011). All errors are our sole responsibility. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Elias Papaioannou, 2014. "National Institutions and Subnational Development in Africa," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(1), pages 151-213. citation courtesy of