Metropolitan Blueprints of Colonial Taxation? Lessons from Fiscal Capacity Building in British and French Africa, c. 1880-1940

E.H.P. Frankema, M.F.M. van Waijenburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The historical and social science literature is divided about the importance of metropolitan blueprints of colonial rule for the development of colonial states. We exploit historical records of colonial state finances to explore the importance of metropolitan identity on the comparative development of fiscal institutions in British and French Africa. Taxes constituted the financial backbone of the colonial state and were vital to the state building efforts of colonial governments. A quantitative comparative perspective shows that pragmatic responses to varying local conditions can easily be mistaken for specific metropolitan blueprints of colonial governance and that under comparable local circumstances the French and British operated in remarkably similar ways.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-400
JournalJournal of African History
Volume55
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • sub-saharan africa
  • growth
  • education
  • colonization
  • institutions
  • government
  • legacies
  • origins
  • history
  • world

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