Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures
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By the early 1960’s, most of the French colonies in Africa had gained independence. Since then, these former colonies have reached economic development levels that vary widely by country. This project will argue that while most of these countries were official colonies for less than one hundred years, the institutions that were created during the colonial period still have an effect on the current economic development of such countries. Since political institutions become intertwined with the culture and structure of a country,
they are extremely hard to modify; therefore, we can expect to find the presence of institutions that are similar to those created during colonization. For my honors project, I explore the reasons behind the current differences in economic development levels, focusing on the type of colony that was created. I divide the colonies into three groups: settlements, resource extractions, and agricultural plantations. I argue that these different types of colonial models create institutional structures that get perpetuated and ultimately affect the economic development levels in the long run.