Yu Zhang / Zhicheng Phil Xu / Shahriar Kibriya 


This study investigates the long-term legacy of the slave trade on contemporary violence in sub-Saharan Africa. Using a geo-coded disaggregated dataset and exploiting within-country variation in slave trade intensity, we document a robust positive relationship between slave exports and contemporary conflict; the slave trade has long-lasting impacts on ethnic conflict and riots in particular. We examine the mechanisms underlying this persistence and find that the slave trade has weakened national identity, leading to a higher risk of ethnic conflict, and has also undermined economic development, which partly explains the relationship between the slave trade and riots. Furthermore, using the individual attitudes from the Afrobarometer survey, we show that the impact of the slave trade on national identity is mostly attributed to the inherited beliefs and norms rather than the external environment.


African slave trade, Political violence, Ethnic conflict, National identity, Sub-Saharan Africa

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Zhang, Y / Xu, Z. / Kibriya, S .: The Long-Run Effects of the Slave Trade on the Political Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa, in: Journal of Comparative Economics, Vol. 49 (3), pp. 776-800, 2021