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Colonialism & Economic Development in Africa Leander Heldring & James A. Robinson Presented by Dana Riggles.

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Presentation on theme: "Colonialism & Economic Development in Africa Leander Heldring & James A. Robinson Presented by Dana Riggles."— Presentation transcript:

1 Colonialism & Economic Development in Africa Leander Heldring & James A. Robinson Presented by Dana Riggles

2 Leander Heldring University of Oxford Department of Economics James A. Robinson Harvard University Department of Government Economic and Political Development in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa

3 European Colonization in Sub-Saharan Africa Formal Colonization, not ‘Interaction’ Scope

4 Existing state formation & development would have continued absent colonialism. Existing economic institutions would not have drastically changed absent colonialism. Assumptions

5 There is no country in Sub-Saharan Africa which is more developed because it was colonized by Europe. Hypothesis

6 Basic Points Technology diffuses across countries. Missionaries started schools and advanced education. Slavery would have been abolished by world trends. Colonialism hindered development. Colonialism introduced racism.

7 Pro-Colonialism View Africa was extremely poor and used backward technology: did not use writing, the wheel or plow outside Ethiopia. Some societies did not use money. Did not have economic institutions conducive to development. Lagged in political centralization. Europeans brought medical technology, introduced modern legal systems, methods of admin., etc.

8 1. Pre-Colonial Central State Those with an existing centralized state Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Lesotho, Rwanda 2. Colonial Settlement Those with European settlement Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe 3. Other Colonies Those with no central state or European settlement Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria, Uganda, Sierra Leone 3 Types of Colonies

9 Pre-Colonial Central State Colonialism blocked further political development. Indirect rule made local elites less accountable to citizens. After independence, attracted more predatory rulers. Colonialism brought new technologies but these states were already adopting them. Introduced racism and stereotypes. Paper argues these countries would be more developed today without colonialism.

10 Colonial Settlement Loss of property rights led to sharp fall in living standards. Huge increases in inequality. Decline in institutional quality. Racial and ethnic conflict. Fall in real wages. Using calculation, approximate 50% fall in African real wages in areas with land grabs. Paper argues these countries would be more developed today without colonialism.

11 Other Colonies Could argue that Europeans brought stability and technology. Paper does not argue these pre-colonial institutions were conducive to development. However, evidence suggests these societies were ready to adopt new technology. Any gains in stability were reversed when Europeans left.

12 Patterns of Development On Average: Income Per Capita Growth during colonial period. Declined after independence until year School Enrollment & Literacy Began with levels close to zero. Slow and steady growth during colonial period. Health Life expectancy increased greatly after independence. European investment in health for self-protection.

13 Findings After Independence: Most experienced economic decline. Colonial institutions persisted (racism, hierarchy, indirect rule, etc.) Infrastructure built by Europeans was for ruling purposes, so less economically beneficial. Many states were left with no political stability, leading to years of conflict.

14 Conclusion European colonialism had a negative impact on development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

15 Questions?


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