in: Comparative politics, Volume 52, Issue 3, p. 405-437
It has been sixty years since the first sub-Saharan nation declared independence. Over the past three decades, the region has undergone significant changes. Though few, if any, would question that colonial histories shaped African societies, it is unclear to what extent these legacies
continue to be relevant to contemporary inter-group relations. Does it still make sense to speak about colonial legacies? And if so, which ones? This article explores these questions by examining whether ethnic groups who were privileged during the colonial period are more likely to hold political
power decades later. To do so, I conduct a multiple case study analysis of twenty-five sub-Saharan countries from which I create an original dataset of how ethnic groups were positioned during the latter stages of colonialism. With these data, I run auto-regressive logistical models correlating
former colonial position to executive power since independence. I find that many of the assumptions made in the scholarship about the importance of colonial privilege are not supported by these models. However, colonial institutional legacies may still help us understand inter-group dynamics
and be the source of contemporary political grievances.