African colonial history suggests that British colonial rule may have undermined state centralisation
due to legacies of ethnic segregation and stronger executive constraints. Using micro-data from
anglophone and francophone countries in sub-Saharan Africa, we find that anglophone citizens are
less likely to identify themselves in national terms (relative to ethnic terms). To address endogeneity
concerns, we utilise regression discontinuity by focusing on observations near anglophone–
francophone borders, both across countries and within Cameroon. Evidence on taxation, security
and the power of chiefs also suggests weaker state capacity in anglophone countries. These results
highlight the legacy of colonial rule on state-building.