June 9, 2015 - On the Influence of Colonialism on Africa’s Welfare Development, 1810s-1970s - An Anthropometric Study
On the Influence of Colonialism on Africa’s Welfare Development, 1810s-1970s - An Anthropometric Study
New evidence on the anthropometric development of 47 African countries sheds light on a number of questions which could never be addressed quantitatively before. Did colonialism have a contemporary influence on the Biological Standard of Living of Africans? We find that the Africans lost stature after colonization, even after controlling for a number of different variables and potential sample selectivity bias issues.
Did the various types of colonialism have a different effects? We find that settler colonies had a particularly adverse effect on native African heights during the period of colonialization. Using instrumental variable techniques, we establish that this effect is indeed causal rather than caused by potential endogeneity.
We thank Gareth Austin, Babakar Fall, Johan Fourie, Ewout Frankema, Alexander Moradi, Jim Robinson, Rick Steckel, Jan Luiten van Zanden, participants at the World Economic History Congress in Stellenbosch 2012 and my students in Tuebingen for important comments and suggestions. Thanks to Matthias Blum for his cooperation in the global height project, and to the ClioInfra Project of the N-W-O (the Dutch Research Foundation) for supporting background research on the database used here.
More information on Jörg Baten can be found here.