British detention camps and the origins of distrust in Kenya

Gerda Asmus, Heidelberg University

This study examines the long-run effects of British detention camps in colonial Kenya on well-being and trust. During the dawn of colonial rule in Kenya, the British Empire was confronted with a violent uprising to which it responded by declaring a state of Emergency and instituting a system of detention camps known as `the pipeline'. The colonial state suspected virtually anyone sharing the ethnicity of one of the so-called Mau Mau tribes, and incarcerated a significant share of the adult native population. Exploiting geographic and individual characteristics to identify the affected individuals and households, we show that individuals exposed to detention camps have worse development outcomes today. We use rich contemporary survey data to document that affected individuals tend to be less trusting, accumulate less wealth, and are less literate, even though their ethnic kin belong to the ruling class of contemporary Kenya.

About the speaker

Gerda Asmus joined the Chair of International and Development Politics as a doctoral student under the supervision of Prof. Axel Dreher in September 2015. Previously, she has earned her master's degree in public policy from the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance. Her research on development economics and economics history.

In 2019 she is a visiting research fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 

Venue: 0.16/0.17

Date: 05 September 2019

Time: 12:00 - 13:00  CEST