Returns on investments during the colonial era: the case of the Belgian Congo

Authors:
FRANS BUELENS, STEFAAN MARYSSE
Published Online:
22 Jun 2009
DOI:
10.1111/j.1468-0289.2009.00482.x
Pages:
135–166
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 62

Additional Options

Before the First World War, Belgium participated in a global wave of foreign direct investment. After the war, a shift towards the Belgian colony of the Congo was observed. With regard to these investments, it is commonly argued that higher (expected) profit rates were a strong incentive, although others propose that the colonial powers lost money on their colonial possessions. We measure ex post performance in terms of the time‐weighted rate of return by making use of a new database of Congolese stocks and compare the Congolese data with a Belgian sample. Returns on Congolese stocks were much higher, at least until country risk became a reality.

© Economic History Society 2009

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