Frontiers in African Economic History

New Frontiers in African Economic History – AEHN’s blog – diffuses research-based content and promotes discussion concerning the study of long-term African development. The blog provides authors a platform to disseminate easily accessible summaries (750 words) of their recently published research (articles, book chapters, book reviews, theses), publishes interviews with key scholars in the field, and discusses relevant developments (for example, concerning the state of African archives). We welcome blog contributions and suggestions. Please contact the editors (Felix Meier zu SelhausenMichiel de Haas and Kate Frederick) to discuss possible posts at: [email protected].

The Land–Labour Hypothesis in a Settler Economy: Wealth, Labour and Household Composition on the South African Frontier

It has been argued that reduced land sizes in pre-industrial rural societies caused a decline in fertility through lower demand for family labour. This paper uses newly transcribed data to investigate this relationship in a closing land frontier context: the Graaff-Reinet district in the eastern Cape Colony, 1800-28. In contrast to previous research, we find that the number of children present in the farming households increases as land availability shrinks.
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Family Planning and Fertility in South Africa Under Apartheid

Starting in 1970, the government of South Africa directly provided free family planning services to residents of townships and white-owned farms. Lifetime fertility fell by one child per woman among African residents of these areas compared to African residents of other regions of the country.
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Africa’s Clientelist Budget Policies Revisited: Public Expenditure and Employment in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, 1960–2010

Did independent African governments prioritize job creation in the public sector to the detriment of economic growth? Newly assembled data on public expenditure and employment in three East African countries since 1960 sheds light on external constraints to fiscal space, and suggests that employment growth was short-lived and to a large extent ‘financed’ through a reduction in real wages.
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The Long-Term Effects of Extractive Institutions: Evidence from Trade Policies in Colonial French Africa

This article investigates the long-term effects of colonial trade monopsonies on the subsequent economic development of French Africa. Using the gap between prices paid to African producers and competitive prices as a measure of rent extraction via monopsonistic policies, I show that the areas of French Africa that suffered larger reductions in producer prices during the colonial period are now relatively poorer.
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Africa Rising in Economic History

Felix Meier zu Selhausen (University of Sussex) is a British Academy Post-doctoral Fellow. His research project "Conversion out of Poverty?" explores the origins and long-term consequences of historical Christian missionary activities in Africa, using a wide range of historical individual and macro-level data, including ...
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Interview: Emmanuel Akyeampong

Emmanuel Akyeampong is professor of History, African and African American Studies, and the Oppenheimer Faculty Director of the Harvard University Center for African Studies at Harvard University. His publications include Themes in West Africa's History (2005), which he edited; Between the Sea and the Lagoon: An Eco-Social...
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Interview: Paul Lovejoy

Paul E. Lovejoy, Distinguished Research Professor, Department of History, York University, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He has published 40 books and 140 articles and papers, including 'The Transatlantic Slave Trade and Slavery: New Directions in Teaching and Learning' (2013), co-edited...
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The data revolution in African Economic History

Johan Fourie is Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at Stellenbosch University and coordinator of the Laboratory for the Economics of Africa’s Past (LEAP). His research focuses on the evolution of living standards in South Africa from the 18th – 20th centuries. He...
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Intra-household labor allocation in colonial Nigeria

Vellore Arthi is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) at the University of Essex, and recently completed her doctorate at the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on household labor, early-life health, and human capital formation in developing-country and historical settings. d James Fenske is a...
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Interview: Patrick Manning

Patrick Manning, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of World History, Emeritus, is retiring from the University of Pittsburgh after almost 50 years of academic research and teaching at several institutions. His 1969 dissertation (University of Wisconsin – Madison) was a general equilibrium economic history of...
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Witchcraft Beliefs and the Erosion of Social Capital

Boris Gershman is an Assistant Professor of Economics at American University in Washington, DC. He earned his PhD in Economics from Brown University in 2012 and held a visiting scholar appointment at the University of Warwick in 2015. His primary research focuses on the deep...
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Interview: Ewout Frankema

Prof. Ewout Frankema obtained his PhD in Economics from the University of Groningen in 2008 and currently holds the chair of Rural and Environmental History at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. He is a member-elect of the Young Academy of the Royal Dutch Academy...
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The launch of Frontiers in African Economic History

We are delighted to launch the AEHN’s new blog, Frontiers in African Economic History. The editorial team consists of Michiel de Haas, Kate Frederick (both Wageningen University) and Felix Meier zu Selhausen (University of Southern Denmark & University of Sussex). The aim of this...
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