The Colonial Origins of Inequality: Exploring the Causes and Consequences of Land Distribution
AbstractRecent literature has pointed out that the historical distribution of assets is crucial in explaining the observed rigidity in post-war income inequality levels. This paper explores the causes and consequences of historical land distribution employing new and existing estimates of land inequality in cross-country OLS regressions. The two central questions addressed are 1) what explains the cross-country variation in land inequality at the end of the colonial period? 2) how does initial land inequality relate to current income inequality? It is shown that land distribution is determined by (colonial) institutions responding to relative factor endowments and natural geographic conditions as the disease environment and the feasibility to grow particular food- or cash-crops. Local conditions and institutional responses differed largely from region to region. Whereas the direct relation between initial land inequality and income inequality appears to be weak, controlling for (colonial) institutional variables reveals a strong relation between initial land inequality and current (1990’s) income inequality. High levels of income inequality, specifically in Sub Saharan Africa and Latin America, are shown to have fundamentally different colonial origins.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research in its series Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers with number 119.
Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 21 Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Platz des Göttinger Sieben 3, 37073 Göttingen
Phone: 0049-551-39 81 72
Fax: 0049-551-39 81 73
Web page: http://www.iai.wiwi.uni-goettingen.de
More information through EDIRC
Colonial institutions; geography; factor endowments; land distribution; income distribution;
Other versions of this item:
- Frankema, Ewout, 2006. "The Colonial Origins of Inequality: Exploring the Causes and Consequences of Land Distribution," GGDC Research Memorandum GD-81, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
- N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
- N50 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - General, International, or Comparative
- O15 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
- P51 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Analysis of Economic Systems
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Stanley L. Engerman & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 2005. "Colonialism, Inequality, and Long-Run Paths of Development," NBER Working Papers 11057, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- William Easterly & Ross Levine, 2002.
"Tropics, Germs, and Crops: How Endowments Influence Economic Development,"
NBER Working Papers
9106, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 2003. "Tropics, germs, and crops: how endowments influence economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 3-39, January.
- William Easterly & Ross Levine, 2002. "Tropics, Germs, and Crops: How Endowments Influence Economic Development," Working Papers 15, Center for Global Development.
- John W. McArthur & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2001. "Institutions and Geography: Comment on Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson (2000)," NBER Working Papers 8114, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2005.
"Land Inequality and the Origin of Divergence and Overtaking in the Growth Process: Theory and Evidence,"
2005 Meeting Papers
24, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- Oded Galor & Omer Moav & Dietrich Vollrath, 2004. "Land Inequality and the Origin of Divergence and Overtaking in the Growth Process: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 2003-04, Brown University, Department of Economics.
- Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer & Vollrath, Dietrich, 2003. "Land Inequality and the Origin of Divergence and Overtaking in the Growth Process: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 3817, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1988.
"Income Distribution and Macroeconomics,"
51644, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Sep 1989.
- Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999.
"Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?,"
NBER Working Papers
6564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker Than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116, February.
- Deininger, Klaus & Olinto, Pedro, 2000. "Asset distribution, inequality, and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2375, The World Bank.
- Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1998. "New ways of looking at old issues: inequality and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 259-287.
- Barro, Robert J, 2000. " Inequality and Growth in a Panel of Countries," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 5-32, March.
- Bourguignon, F. & Verdier, T., 1997.
"Oligarchy, Democracy, Inequality and Growth,"
DELTA Working Papers
97-10, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sabine Jaep).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.