Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades

Nunn, Nathan (2007): The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades. Forthcoming in: Quarterly Journal of Economics

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Abstract

Can part of Africa’s current underdevelopment be explained by its slave trades? To explore this question, I use data from shipping records and historical documents reporting slave ethnicities to construct estimates of the number of slaves exported from each country during Africa’s slave trades. I find a robust negative relationship between the number of slaves exported from a country and current economic performance. To better understand if the relationship is causal, I examine the historical evidence on selection into the slave trades, and use instrumental variables. Together the evidence suggests that the slave trades have had an adverse effect on economic development.

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