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Explaining long- run economic development in Africa. Do initial conditions matter?

11 March 2010

Promotie: mw. J. Bolt, 16.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Proefschrift: Explaining long- run economic development in Africa. Do initial conditions matter?

Promotor(s): prof.dr. B.W. Lensink, prof.dr. H.H. van Ark

Faculteit: Economie en Bedrijfskunde

Contact: Jutta Bolt, tel. 050-363 8344, e-mail:

Economic starting point in African countries unequal

It is well known that Africa is the poorest region in the world in terms of income levels per head of the population and also, on average, the slowest growing continent of the world. However, these averages hide an enormous within-Africa diversity both in economic performance and in economic fundamentals. The thesis focuses on this diversity as the author analyses institutional and economic developments for Sub-Sahara Africa from a historical perspective. She tries to asses the impact of initial conditions on development paths in later times. The results of this thesis emphasise the importance of pre-colonial and colonial history in explaining long-run economic and institutional development in Africa. In those pre-colonial societies where both state and community structures were well developed, stronger democratic- and judiciary systems developed in later times, compared to societies who lacked these pre-colonial structures. Furthermore, societies in which indigenous slavery was prevalent, perform worse both in terms of institutional development as in terms of economic development. Concerning the colonial period, it turned out colonial education positively influences both educational and income developments in African countries since independence. Finally, a colonial tie between countries still positively affects investment patterns between these countries.

Last modified:13 March 2020 01.14 a.m.
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