Long-term Evaluation of Public Policies: An Historical Investigation Into Colonial Policies in French Western Africa and its Impacts on Modern Political Attitudes and Intra-state Conflicts (2015)

Equipe de recherche:

  • Quoc Anh DO (Associate Professor LIEPP/ Département d'économie Sciences Po)
  • Elise HUILLERY (Professeur d'économie - Université Paris-Dauphine, Co-directrice de l'axe Politiques éducatives LIEPP)
  • Jean-Louis KEENE (Sciences Po, Département d'économie et LIEPP)

This project is supported by the LIEPP since September 2015

Descriptif du projet: 

This project aims to investigate long-term consequences of colonial policies and political environments on modern day intra-state conflicts and political attitudes. We will first explore the interaction between the quality of colonial political leaders, the contemporaneous hostility of the population towards colonial political leaders, and the resulting state capacity (taxation and public investments) in colonial times. Then, we will estimate the long term effects of hostility and state capacity in colonial times on current political attitudes, economic and political inequalities, and current intrastate conflicts. We rely on a tri-disciplinary approach, based on extensive examination of historical archives, following the political science literature on conflicts and political attitudes, and complemented with empirical strategies from economics. Our methodology will rely on using characteristics of the colonial leaders as instruments for the hostility of local population and state capacity. The current proposal asks for funds in order to collect personal data on the French colonial administrators who served in the colonial administration in French West Africa from 1906 to 1932. A preliminary investigation showed that 1,000 different administrators would be part of our study and that their personal records are available at the Archives Nationales de l’Outre-Mer. The project will make three important contributions. First, by clarifying the historical roots of political attitudes and conflicts in Africa, it adds to the field of conflict studies, at the crossroad between political science and political economics. Second, we contribute to the political economic debate on long-term development and institution changes, by investigating the role of policies as determinants of modern political institutions, possibly through conflicts and cultural transmission. Last, we will contribute to the studies of determinants of cultural values and attitudes.


Poster of the Project (June 2016)


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