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The legacy of historical conflict: evidence from Africa

Besley, Timothy and Reynal-Querol, Marta (2014) The legacy of historical conflict: evidence from Africa. American Political Science Review, 108 (02). pp. 319-336. ISSN 0003-0554

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0003055414000161


This article exploits variation between and within countries to examine the legacy of recorded conflicts in Africa in the precolonial period between 1400 and 1700. There are three main findings. First, we show that historical conflict is correlated with a greater prevalence of postcolonial conflict. Second, historical conflict is correlated with lower levels of trust, a stronger sense of ethnic identity, and a weaker sense of national identity across countries. Third, historical conflict is negatively correlated with subsequent patterns of development looking at the pattern across grid cells within countries.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 American Political Science Association
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CB History of civilization
D History General and Old World > DT Africa
JEL classification: N - Economic History > N4 - Government, War, Law, and Regulation > N47 - Africa; Oceania
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O5 - Economywide Country Studies > O55 - Africa
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2014 14:36
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2021 10:00
Projects: FP7/2007-2013, 203576, SEJ2007-64340, SEV-2011-0075
Funders: European Research Council under the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme, European Research Council (ERC), Spanish Ministerio de Educación, Severo Ochoa Programme for Centres of Excellence in R&D

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