Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Colonial origins of comparative development in Ghana

Iddrisu Kambala, Mohammed (2022): Colonial origins of comparative development in Ghana. Forthcoming in: Journal of Development Studies

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A striking feature of Ghana’s development landscape is the stark development disparity between a relatively developed South and a trailing North. Explanations for the disparity have often been hinged on differences in geography and past colonial experience. In this study, I provide an empirical justification for the historical hypothesis that the dynamics of colonial rule contributed significantly to the development divergence between the North and the South. I exploit the asymmetric regional distribution of past colonial public investments in education, health and infrastructure to show that the dynamics of colonial rule explain a significant portion of the development disparity between the two regions. I also survey compelling historical anecdotes to show that prior to the colonial project the North was a relatively prosperous region.

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