This paper analyzes the colonial institutions and development legacies of Italian colonialism in East and North Africa. Colonial Italy established “settler colonialism” in areas conducive to colonial settlement and large-scale exploitation, and “enclave colonialism” in areas with fewer resource and settlement opportunities. In the immediate aftermath of colonial rule (i.e., 1940s-1950s), settler colonialism had positive effects on economic development, whereas enclave colonialism exerted a negative impact on economic prosperity. However, both settler and enclave types of Italian colonialism had strong negative effects on human wellbeing. During the long-term postcolonial period (post-1960), postcolonial development was contingent on critical junctures in each country, which destabilized, redirected, and/or transformed the colonial institutional legacy and associated development trajectories. The paper finds colonizers' “national identity” with factor endowments as a critical source of variation in colonial institutions and long-run postcolonial development, and little empirical support for factor endowments per se or pre-colonial ethnic centralization.
Late Colonialism and Post-Colonial Development in Africa: A Comparative Historical Analysis of Former Italian Africa
30 August 2023, Version 1
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