The Corruption of Local Elites in Francophone and Anglophone Africa

Merima Ali (CMI and Syracuse University)
Odd-Helge Fjeldstad (CMI)
Abdulaziz B. Shifa (Syracuse University)

Abstract: Although colonialism is often argued to have a profound implication for post-colonial economic and institutional outcomes, the effect of colonial rules on local power structure remains under-explored. In this study, we propose a hypothesis regarding how the differences in British and French colonial rules shaped the interaction between political influence and accountability of local elites. Given the differences in the approaches to colonial rule, we hypothesize that the association between the greater political influence of local elites and their accountability is weaker in Anglophone countries. Using regression discontinuity analysis on observations within split-by-the-border ethnic homelands between Anglophone and Francophone countries, we present empirical evidence that is consistent with our hypothesis.