Decolonizing with data: The cliometric turn in African economic history

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP02/2019
 
Publication date: March 2019
 
Author(s):
Johan Fourie (LEAP, Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)
[protected email address] (LEAP, Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)
 
Abstract:

Our understanding of Africa's economic past -- the causes and consequences of precolonial polities, the slave trade, state formation, the Scramble for Africa, European settlement, and independence -- has improved markedly over the last two decades. Much of this is the result of the cliometric turn in African economic history, what some have called a `renaissance'. Whilst acknowledging that cliometrics is not new to African history, this chapter examines the major recent contributions, noting their methodological advances and dividing them into four broad themes: persistence of deep traits, slavery, colonialism and independence. We conclude with a brief bibliometric exercise, noting the lack of Africans working at the frontier of African cliometrics.

 
JEL Classification:

N01, N37, O10

Keywords:

Africa, history, poverty, reversal of fortunes, sub-Saharan, trade, slavery, colonialism, missionaries, independence

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Last week was quiet on the domestic data front. Even so, risky assets outperformed. This included the rand exchange rate, which ignored idiosyncratic weakness in peer currency the Turkish lira. The rand was also immune to a further worsening of the COVID-19 situation in Europe. Renewed concern about the Eurozone (EZ) GDP outlook was reflected in a pullback...

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