Narrow and scientific replication of ‘The slave trade and the origins of mistrust in Africa'


Marijke Verpoorten, IOB Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Antwerp, Lange Sint Annastraat 7, B-2000 Antwerp, Belgium. E-mail:


Nunn and Wantchekon (2011) argue that slave trades led to a culture of mistrust in Africa. They regress self-reported trust from the 2005 Afrobarometer surveys on ethnicity-specific historic slave exports. Individuals from ethnic groups that experienced high levels of slave exports are less trusting. Causality is demonstrated by instrumenting slave exports using the historic distance of each ethnic group to the coast. Our narrow replication yields identical results. The scientific replication repeats the analysis with Afrobarometer survey data from 2008, which includes two new countries and more ethnic groups. Our replication confirms the results of Nunn and Wantchekon. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.