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MASU presents: Merima Ali

341 Eggers Hall

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Merima Ali, Senior Researcher, Chr. Michelsen Institute (Bergen, Norway)

Colonial legacy, state building and the salience of ethnicity in Sub-Saharan Africa

Weak state capacity is a central political and economic challenge faced by states in Africa, with governments lacking effective control to provide even basic services. Using nationally representative micro data from Sub-Saharan Africa, we examine the effect of colonial legacies in entrenching (weakening) the salience of ethnic (national) identity and state building. Results from OLS regressions are consistent with the view that the "divide-and-rule" strategy by, for example, Britain, led to a higher salience of ethnic identity in present-day Anglophone African countries and possibly hindered state building. Identification strategies confirm the OLS results, highlighting how short-lived inter-ethnic tensions fostered by leaders can pose a long lasting challenge to state building.

Merima Ali is currently teaching The World Economy (ECN 365) and International Trade and Development (ECN 610) at Syracuse University. Professor Ali works on poverty dynamics, global health and development, and tax and public finance management. She holds the PhD in Development Economics from Wageningen School of Social Science (The Netherlands) and has previously held positions at the World Bank, IFPRI and the Ethiopian Development Research Institution.

Sponsored by the Maxwell African Scholars Union at the Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs

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