Ecology, trade, and states in pre-colonial Africa

Journal of the European Economic Association Vol/Iss. 12 Published In Pages: 612-640
By Fenske, James


The author analyzes 440 Sub-Saharan African societies to test whether trade across ecologically diverse zones is predictive of degree of state centralization (state capacity or strength of state) in pre-colonial Africa. The author finds that diverse ecology is predictive of state capacity and that trade supports class stratification. The author also emphasizes the importance of historical contingency and ethnographic data consultation in understanding mechanisms in individual cases.

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:Christina Carolus