Corruption and poverty in Africa. The colonial legacies in comparative perspective

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Based on the fact that the average levels of corruption within the Portuguese speaking African countries present lower values than their counterparts in Francophone and Anglophone Africa, this article seeks to examine this topic through the length of a more classical approach, based on a neo-institutionalist theoretical framework. In this context, we have explored the hypothesis according to which the "colonial legacy" (understood as a set of formal and informal institutions inherited from the former colonial powers) plays an important role in explaining the levels of corruption in sub-Saharan Africa. On the other hand, we have also tried to understand if these "legacies" are somehow linked to the high levels of human poverty that exist in these countries. The exploratory statistical tests that we conducted show that the variable "colonial legacy" appears significantly correlated to the levels of corruption, whereas there is no relationship with the levels of human poverty. We therefore conclude that there appears to be a specificity in Portuguese speaking African countries, which invites to further and deeper analysis in future studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-423
JournalRevista do Serviço Público
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Public Administration
  • social inequality
  • poverty
  • corruption


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