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Where Local Kings Rule: Long-Term Impacts of Precolonial Institutions and Geography on Access to Public Infrastructure Services in Nigeria

Archibong, Belinda

Although previous works have discussed the benefits of precolonial centralization for development in Africa, the findings and the mechanisms provided do not explain the heterogeneity in access to public services of formerly centralized states. Using new survey data from Nigeria, I find a significant negative effect of centralization on access to certain public services in centralized regions whose leaders failed to comply with the autocratic federal regime, and whose jurisdictions were subsequently punished by underinvestment in these services, with lasting impacts till today. The results are robust to extensive controls and instrumenting for precolonial centralization with an ecological diversity index.

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