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Institutions, Context, and Outcomes: Explaining French and British Rule in West Africa

Kathryn Firmin-Sellers
Comparative Politics
Vol. 32, No. 3 (Apr., 2000), pp. 253-272
DOI: 10.2307/422366
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/422366
Page Count: 20
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Institutions, Context, and Outcomes: Explaining French and British Rule in West Africa
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Abstract

Why did the development programs of Ghana and Ivory Coast, two nations with seemingly similar economies, diverge after independence? Crucial differences in the design of British and French colonial institutions illuminate the divergent policy choices. Institutional variations generated differences in property rights and landholding, which formed the basis for different patterns of class formation. The link between institutions and outcomes is complex. Institutions' impact is contingent upon the interaction between overlapping institutional arrangements, institutions' direct impact upon targeted (usually state) actors, and institutions' indirect impact on others in society.

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