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Does land abundance explain African institutions?

Fenske, James (2011): Does land abundance explain African institutions?

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Abstract

The land abundance view of African history uses factor endowments to explain patterns of land rights and slavery before colonial rule. Population density and institutional outcomes have, however, been jointly shaped by the same geographic forcing variables. In a cross section of global societies, I find that historic land rights, slavery, and population density are each predicted by environmental features such as land quality and terrain ruggedness. I discuss whether these patterns support particular theories of land rights and slavery, and whether there is evidence for institutional persistence in the present.

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