Reinventing the Wheel: The Economic Benefits of Wheeled Transportation in Early British Colonial West Africa

  title={Reinventing the Wheel: The Economic Benefits of Wheeled Transportation in Early British Colonial West Africa},
  author={Is{\'a}ıas N. Chaves and Stanley L. Engerman and James A. Robinson},
  journal={ERN: Infrastructures; Other Public Investment \& Capital Stock (Topic)},
One of the great puzzles of Sub-Saharan African economic history is that wheeled transportation was barely used prior to the colonial period. Instead, head porterage was the main method of transportation. The consensus among historians is that this was a rational adaption to the underlying conditions and factor endowments. In this paper we undertake the first systematic investigation of the relative costs of the different forms of wheeled transportation in Africa. We focus on calculating the… 
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