Slavery and centuries of poverty

Via Dani Rodrik, here’s some fascinating research that explores the link between the slave trade and subsequent economic performance:

I find a robust negative relationship between the number of slaves exported from each country and subsequent economic performance. The African countries that are the poorest today are the ones from which the most slaves were taken.

One thought on “Slavery and centuries of poverty

  1. jaywalker

    Interesting article. Two problems.

    Just 4 countries (Angola, Nigeria, Ghana and Ethiopia) account for 50% of all slave exports. The article only accounts for this fact on the slavery side (correcting for land area). The author is also very brave in drawing regression curves in widely scattering data points.

    The article claims that the slave trade resulted in increased political and ethnic fragmentation, but the two countries most suffering from slave exports, Angola and Nigeria, show a wide difference in the size of ethnic boundary sizes (Figure II), somewhat contrary to the argumentation.


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