Pre‐colonial ethnic institutions and contemporary African development

Econometrica Vol/Iss. 81(1) Blackwell Publishing Ltd Published In Pages: 113-152
By Michalopoulos, Stelios, Papaioannou, Elias


The researchers test the relationship between political complexity among African pre-colonial ethnic institutions and contemporary economic performance (using light-density data as a proxy). Their tests yield a robust positive association even after controlling for multiple alternative geographic, cultural, and economic variables, which they interpret as underscoring the ongoing importance of ethnic-specific institutions in shaping economic activity in contemporary Africa.


Sample Used Coded Data Comment
Ethnographic Atlas (EA)Murdock (1959, 1967)n = 534 African societies in EA

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