Po litical power is more likely to depend on commerce in more centralized

Po litical power is more likely to depend on commerce

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levels of intermediation, and that this trade is more important to their subsistence. Po- litical power is more likely to depend on commerce in more centralized states, trade and markets are more likely to exist, and exchange is more important both within and beyond the community, though this latter correlation is not significant at conventional levels. Interestingly, Tables 16 and 15 suggest that it is more mundane, intra-community trade in products such as food, rather than long distance trade in products such as gold and ivory, that matters for the formation of states. The main data sources here do not allow for these two types of trade to be conclusively tested against each other. However, the “ecological diversity” measure is more intuitively related to trade that is possible within an ethnic group’s borders, while the “distance from an ecological divide” variable is more suggestive of long distance trade. In Table 17, I test whether the estimated ef- fect of either one disappears when both are included as regressors. They are, however, strongly correlated (see column 1), which limits the power of this test. With controls, both coefficients fall relatively 40% relative to their values in Tables 4 and Table 6. The distance from a divide remains more statistically robust, especially once regional fixed effects are added. It is not, then, possible to rule out the importance of either long dis- tance or local trade. 17 Of 271 sites he lists, I match 84 to ethnic groups in the data and 157 to specific geographic locations, such as Cape Lopez. For 30 I could not find a match.
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ECOLOGY, TRADE AND STATES IN PRE-COLONIAL AFRICA 29 6.3. Is Africa different? In other work, I have assembled an analogous data-set for all 1,267 societies of the Ethnographic Atlas . 18 While some of the controls used here are either not available or computed somewhat differently in that data, I am able to expand the present analysis to the whole world. Results in Table 18 suggest that Africa is not different: in a sample of more than 1,000 societies from around the world, ecological diversity continues to predict the existence of states. 7. C ONCLUSION I have used this paper to provide empirical support for Bates’s (1983) Ricardian view of pre-colonial African states. The gains from trade stemming from ecological diver- sity predict the presence of state centralization across sub-Saharan societies recorded in the Ethnographic Atlas . Moving from a homogenous zone to one that is ecologically diverse predicts that the chance a society is centralized rises between 6 and 13 percent- age points. Distance from an ecological divide serves as well in predicting states. There is no evidence this is overstated due to endogeneity or the influence of outliers or spe- cific ethnographic regions. The histories of African societies are consistent with this interpretation of the data, rather than one in which states emerge and then migrate.
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  • Spring '17
  • JAMES FENSKE

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