Colonial legacy, state-building and the salience of ethnicity in Sub-Saharan Africa
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Original versionBergen: Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI Working Paper WP 2015:16)
Ethnicity has received increased attention in studies of Africa's economic and institutional development. We present evidence on the long-term effects of Britain's "divide-and-rule" colonial strategy that deliberately fostered ethnic rivalries to weaken and control locals. Using micro data from Sub-Saharan Africa, we found that citizens of Anglophone (as compared to Francophone) countries are more likely to: (1) attach greater importance to ethnic identity (vis-a-vis national identity); (2) have weaker norms against tax evasion; and (3) face extortion by non state actors. We address endogeneity concerns using IV regression and regression-discontinuity. These results suggest that Britain's divide-and-rule strategy may have undermined state-building.