DP10258 | Further Evidence on the Link between Pre-Colonial Political Centralization and Comparative Economic Development in Africa

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We examine the link between pre-colonial statehood and contemporary regional African development, as reflected in satellite images on light density at night. We employ a variety of historical maps to capture the former. Our within-country analysis reveals a strong positive correlation between pre-colonial political centralization and contemporary development (and urbanization). If anything, the association strengthens when we account for measurement error on the historical maps of pre-colonial political organization.