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How Africans shaped British colonial institutions: evidence from local taxation

Bolt, Jutta and Gardner, Leigh ORCID: 0000-0001-8638-5121 (2020) How Africans shaped British colonial institutions: evidence from local taxation. Journal of Economic History, 80 (4). 1189 - 1223. ISSN 0022-0507

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0022050720000455


The institutions that governed most of the rural population in British colonial Africa have been neglected in the literature on colonialism. We use new data on local governments, or "Native Authorities,"to present the first quantitative comparison of African institutions under indirect rule in four colonies in 1948: Nigeria, the Gold Coast, Nyasaland, and Kenya. Tax data show that Native Authorities' capacity varied within and between colonies, due to both underlying economic inequalities and African elites' relations with the colonial government. Our findings suggest that Africans had a bigger hand in shaping British colonial institutions than often acknowledged.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 The Economic History
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2020 17:33
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2024 01:09

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