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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.
- informal settments
- urban development
- political economy
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