The Political economy of Slums: Theory and Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa

World Development

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Date Published 2013
Primary Author Sean Fox
Other Authors
Theme Neighborhood Upgrading


Fox - "Over 800 million people in Africa, Asia, and Latin America live in slums. Why? I argue that slums are a result of ‘‘disjointed modernization” and show that 70% of cross-country variation in slum incidence is explained by demographic, economic, and institutional factors. I trace the origins of disjointed modernization in sub-Saharan Africa back to the colonial period and show that colonial era investments and institutions are reflected in contemporary variation in slum incidence. I argue that status quo interests and the rise of an anti-urbanization bias in development discourse have inhibited investment and reform in the postcolonial era."

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