How Africans Shaped British Colonial Institutions: Evidence from Local Taxation
|Date:||04 November 2020|
Jutta Bolt and Leigh Gardner published a paper in the Journal of Economic History on the role played by Africans in shaping British colonial institutions in Africa. The paper presents new data on local governments, or “Native Authorities,” to present the first quantitative comparison of African institutions under indirect rule in four colonies in 1948: Nigeria, the Gold Coast, Nyasaland, and Kenya. Tax data show that Native Authorities’ capacity varied within and between colonies, due to both underlying economic inequalities and African elites’ relations with the colonial government. Our findings suggest that Africans had a bigger hand in shaping British colonial institutions than often acknowledged.