This stream tackles the puzzle of the persistence of territorialized ethnic communities as the building-blocks of inequality-driven partisan and regional coalitions in African countries.
It tests three hypotheses:
1. The vast majority of these boundaries were originally demarcated as internal ethnic boundaries by colonial rulers in the pre-independence period.
2. Long-established internal boundaries create jurisdictions that are marked by high levels of cross-unit economic and political inequality (in natural endowment [land, rainfall], proxy wealth indicators, infrastructure, and local state [tax] capacity) and low levels of within-unit partisan political competition (measured since the post-1990 return to multipartism).
3. Internal borders and territorialized subnational citizenship thus work to "lock-in" electoral constituencies (often grouped into localized coalitions or blocs) that are characterized by extremely high levels of economic inequality.
Bolt, Jutta and Leigh Gardner. "How Africans shaped British colonial institutions: evidence from local taxation," Journal of Economic History (forthcoming). Working paper version available here.