Pre-colonial ethnic institutions and party politics in Africa

Journal of Comparative Economics Vol/Iss. 50 Elsevier Published In Pages: 969-980
By Amodio, Francesco, Chiovelli, Giorgio, Munson, Dylan


This article investigates the degree of political centralization in pre-industrial and the political competitive outcomes in 15 modern-day Sub-Sahara African countries. The authors first report that pre-colonial centralization decreases political competitiveness in modern day countries, advocating that traditional power structures play a role in modern day politics. The authors then use light-density as a proxy for regional development and test developmental outcomes based on political centralization and competitiveness. They report pre-colonial centralization positively affected regional development and suggest this could be due to more centralized institutions increasing the capacity of chiefs to mobilize voters, in turn lowering political competition and increasing the accountability of elected officials. Many controls are introduced.


A Herfindahl-Hirschman index (HHI) of vote concentration at the electoral constituency level is an inverse proxy for political competition.


Sample Used Coded Data Comment
Ethnographic Atlas (EA)CombinationPolitical centralization
Constituency-Level Elections ArchiveCombinationElectoral results

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:danielle.russell jacob.kalodner