Slavery and African Underdevelopment

I’d posted on Nathan Nunn’s research a few years ago. Over at Vox, Nunn provides a brief and non-technical version of his claims:

According to my calculations, if the slave trades had not occurred, then 72% of the average income gap between Africa and the rest of the world would not exist today, and 99% of the income gap between Africa and the rest of the underdeveloped world would not exist. In terms of economic development, Africa would not look any different from the other developing countries in the world.

This finding is striking. These results may not be the final and definitive explanation for the origins of Africa’s severe underdevelopment, but they do provide very strong evidence that much of Africa’s poor performance can be explained by its history, which is characterised by over 400 years of slave raiding.

[H/t: Alex Cooley]