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All that glitters is not gold: The return on British investments in South Africa, 1869-1969

Journal article
Authors Klas Rönnbäck
Oskar Broberg
Published in Journal for Studies in Economics and Econometrics
Volume 42
Issue 2
Pages 61-79
ISSN 0379-6205
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Economy and Society, Economic History
Department of Economy and Society
Pages 61-79
Language en
Keywords Investments, South Africa, Britain, Imperialism, Return on investments
Subject categories Economic History


This article studies the return on British investments in South Africa during the period 1869 to 1969. The study is based on sample of 453 companies, operating within the region of current-day South Africa, and whose stocks were traded on the London Stock Exchange. Our analysis shows that the return on South African investments was substantially lower than what some previous research in the field has claimed. The results therefore challenge the received wisdom that investments in South Africa were particularly profitable to the investors.

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