Daniel Castillo Hidalgo writes a scientific article on the salary structure in the port sector of colonial Senegal

Friday, 6 October, 2023

Doctor and member of IATEXT, Daniel Castillo Hidalgo has recently written an article in which describes the salary structure in the port sector of Colonial Senegal. 

Specialized in African economics since he began his PhD in 2008  under the tutorship of the recently deceased historian and ULPGC professor Miguel Suárez Bosa. Most of his works focus on the colonial period, because access to documentation is relatively more affordable.

The colonial gap: An analysis of income distribution in the Port of Dakar, 1911 –1940


This study presents new empirical evidence on the income structure of African workers in the port of Dakar between 1911 and 1940. It provides a systematic series of public wages earned by the African and European workforce in a colonial port. This series includes the income structure by qualification level of public employees and workers employed in the port. Did the wage structure evolve in accordance with relative increases in human capital accumulation in this important colonial port? In this research, I use data collected from annual port budgets to look for explanations for structural differences in earnings in three consecutive decades between 1911 and 1940. I find that the skill premium between highly skilled and unskilled African workers was 3 .8 on average. during the analyzed period. Furthermore, the skill premium between moderately skilled and unskilled workers is estimated to be 2.7. Additionally, high-level European staff (less than 10% of staff) accounted for 36% of total revenue. I provide quantitative evidence on how colonial assignments were the key element contributing to the growing income gap between European and African workers in similar job categories.