Michiel de Haas

Assistant Professor, Wageningen University

[email protected]

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Research interests: Long-run changes in living standards

I study social and economic transformations in African societies in the nineteenth and twentieth century. I have published on various themes, including agricultural production and trade, gendered access to education, long-run inequality and migration. Most of my work focuses on the Great Lakes Region during the colonial era, Uganda in particular.

Case Study


Michiel de Haas

Following the completion of a railway to the coast, colonial Uganda quickly emerged as a cotton and coffee exporting colony. Agricultural exports were largely grown by smallholders, providing access to cash incomes to the majority of rural households. Nevertheless, Uganda also saw the emergence of substantial inequalities between regions, ethnic groups and races. The northern regions were underserved in terms of jobs, education and medical facilities. Moreover, European and South Asian expatriates dominated colonial trading and the skilled niches of the private and public labour market. This project is the first to estimate inequality prior to 1970 and to use social tables to disentangle regional, racial, and class dimensions.

Data is available here.