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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14 Jun 2024
As has been common this year, politics and interest rates were in the spotlight this week. Locally, a government of national unity (GNU) is taking shape. The international focus was on the aftermath of the European Parliamentary election, which led French President Emmanuel Macron to call for a snap election. Across the Atlantic Ocean, market participants...

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