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Ruggedness : the blessing of bad geography in Africa

Author: Nathan Nunn; Diego Puga; National Bureau of Economic Research.
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : National Bureau of Economic Research, ©2009.
Series: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 14918.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
There is controversy about whether geography matters mainly because of its contemporaneous impact on economic outcomes or because of its interaction with historical events. Looking at terrain ruggedness, we are able to estimate the importance of these two channels. Because rugged terrain hinders trade and most productive activities, it has a negative direct effect on income. However, in Africa rugged terrain  Read more...
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Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Nathan Nunn; Diego Puga; National Bureau of Economic Research.
OCLC Number: 319156166
Notes: "April 2009."
Description: 1 online resource (34 p.) : ill., digital.
Series Title: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 14918.
Responsibility: Nathan Nunn, Diego Puga.

Abstract:

There is controversy about whether geography matters mainly because of its contemporaneous impact on economic outcomes or because of its interaction with historical events. Looking at terrain ruggedness, we are able to estimate the importance of these two channels. Because rugged terrain hinders trade and most productive activities, it has a negative direct effect on income. However, in Africa rugged terrain afforded protection to those being raided during the slave trades. Since the slave trades retarded subsequent economic development, in Africa ruggedness has also had a historical indirect positive effect on income. Studying all countries worldwide, we find that both effects are significant statistically and that for Africa the indirect positive effect dominates the direct negative effect. Looking within Africa, we also provide evidence that the indirect effect operates through the slave trades.

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