Late Colonialism and Post-Colonial Development in Africa: A Comparative Historical Analysis of Former Italian Africa

30 August 2023, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


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.


Postcolonial development
Critical junctures
Qualitative methods
Small-N methods


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