Journal of Historical Political Economy > Vol 2 > Issue 1

Colonialism and Institutional Persistence: Mixed Legislative Legacies in Ghana and Kenya

Ken Ochieng' Opalo, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, USA,
Suggested Citation
Ken Ochieng' Opalo (2022), "Colonialism and Institutional Persistence: Mixed Legislative Legacies in Ghana and Kenya", Journal of Historical Political Economy: Vol. 2: No. 1, pp 29-64.

Publication Date: 21 Feb 2022
© 2022 K. O. Opalo
Legislatures,  Autocracy,  Comparative political economy,  Comparative politics,  Democracy,  Democratization,  Interest groups,  Lawmaking,  Parliamentary politics,  Political economy,  Political history,  Political organizations
Institutionscolonial legacieslegislaturesGhanaKenya


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In this article:
Historical Institutionalism and Colonial Legislatures 
Colonial Legislatures in Africa 
The Legacies of Colonial Legislatures in Ghana and Kenya 


A large literature investigates the institutional legacies of European colonialism around the world. However, in linking contemporary outcomes to colonial antecedents, most works seldom identify specific institutions or their temporal evolution. This article examines the institutional legacies of colonialism in Africa through the lens of colonial legislatures. Cross-country analyses show that the correlation between colonial antecedents and contemporary measures of legislative institutionalization is tenuous at best and sensitive to measurement. A comparative study of legislative development in Ghana and Kenya explains likely causes of the mixed legacies of colonial legislatures. Beyond colonial institutional design, temporal variation in intralegislative factional politics explains legislative development in the two countries. This article highlights the importance of understanding the specific mechanisms behind colonial institutional persistence and change.



Journal of Historical Political Economy, Volume 2, Issue 1 Special Issue - Historical Persistence, Part II: Articles Overview
See the other articles that are part of this special issue.