Traditionally, social scientists have assumed that past imperialism hinders the future development prospects of colonized nations. Challenging this widespread belief, this book argues that countries once under direct British imperial control have developed more successfully than those that were ruled indirectly. Combining statistical analysis with in-depth case studies of former British colonies, it argues that direct rule promoted cogent and coherent states with high levels of bureaucratization and inclusiveness, which contributed to implementing development policy during late colonialism and independence. On the other hand, the author finds that indirect British rule created patrimonial, weak states that preyed on their own populations. The book is firmly grounded in the tradition of comparative-historical analysis while offering insight into the colonial roots of uneven development.