The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation
AbstractWe exploit differences in the mortality rates faced by European colonialists to estimate the effect of institutions on economic performance. Our argument is that Europeans adopted very different colonization policies in different colonies, with different associated institutions. The choice of colonization strategy was, at least in part, determined by whether Europeans could settle in the colony. In places where Europeans faced high mortality rates, they could not settle and they were more likely to set up worse (extractive) institutions. These early institutions persisted to the present. We document evidence supporting these hypotheses. Exploiting differences in mortality rates faced by soldiers, bishops and sailors in the colonies in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries as an instrument for current institutions, we estimate large effects of institutions on income per capita. Our estimates imply that differences in institutions explain approximately three-quarters of the income per capita differences across former colonies. Once we control for the effect of institutions, we find that countries in Africa or those farther away from the equator do not have lower incomes.
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 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7771.
Date of creation: Jun 2000
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Acemoglu, Daron, Simon Johnson and James A. Robinson. "The Colonial Origins Of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, 2001, v91(5,Dec), 1369-1401.
Note: DAE EFG LS
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
- O11 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
- P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
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.:
- Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1993.
"Income Distribution, Political Instability, and Investment,"
NBER Working Papers
4486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Alesina, Alberto & Perotti, Roberto, 1996. "Income distribution, political instability, and investment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1203-1228, June.
- Daron Acemoglu, 1993.
"Reward Structures and the Allocation of Talent,"
CEP Discussion Papers
dp0143, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996.
"Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions,"
Papers, Harvard - Institute for International Development
536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
- Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-50, November.
- John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew D. Mellinger, 1998. "Geography and Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 6849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Acemoglu, D. & Verdier, T., 1996.
"Property Rights, Corruption and the Allocation of Talent: A General Equilibrium Approach,"
96-5, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Acemoglu, Daron & Verdier, Thierry, 1998. "Property Rights, Corruption and the Allocation of Talent: A General Equilibrium Approach," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1381-1403, September.
- Acemoglu, Daron & Verdier, Thierry, 1996. "Property Rights, Corruption and the Allocation of Talent: A General Equilibrium Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 1494, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Acemoglu, D. & Verdier, T., 1996. "Property Rights, Corruption and the Allocation of Talent: A General Equilibrium Approach," DELTA Working Papers 96-12, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
- Besley, Timothy, 1995. "Property Rights and Investment Incentives: Theory and Evidence from Ghana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 903-37, October.
- Bertocchi, Graziella & Canova, Fabio, 1996.
"Did Colonization Matter for Growth? An Empirical Exploration into the Historical Causes of Africa's Underdevelopment,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
1444, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Bertocchi, Graziella & Canova, Fabio, 2002. "Did colonization matter for growth?: An empirical exploration into the historical causes of Africa's underdevelopment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1851-1871, December.
- Graziella Bertocchi & Fabio Canova, 1996. "Did colonization matter for growth? An empirical exploration into the historical causes of Africa's underdevelopment," Economics Working Papers 202, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
- 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,
MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116, February.
- 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.
- Perotti, Roberto & Alesina, Alberto, 1996. "Income Distribution, Political Instability, and Investment," Scholarly Articles 4553018, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- David E. Bloom & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1998. "Geography, Demography, and Economic Growth in Africa," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 207-296.
- Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
- Grier, Robin M, 1999. " Colonial Legacies and Economic Growth," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 317-35, March.
- Frieden, Jeffry A., 1994. "International investment and colonial control: a new interpretation," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(04), pages 559-593, September.
Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
- Nuevo gobierno: Â¿mejor gobernanza y crecimiento?
by Florentino Felgueroso in Nada Es Gratis on 2011-12-16 05:56:48
- Philip M. Parker's Economic Growth Databases
by Masa in Devecondata on 2011-01-10 13:33:00
- Amazon Again
by Brian Ashcroft in Scottish Economy Watch on 2012-04-16 17:35:26
- European North-South divide and the role of corruption
by Vuk Vukovic in Don't worry, I'm an economist on 2012-06-15 18:48:00
- They say academic papers are boring. They obviously havenâ€™t read these.
by Johan Fourie in Johan Fourie's Blog on 2014-06-04 08:10:07
RePEc Biblio mentionsAs found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
- > Environmental and Natural Resource Economics > Climate economics > Climate and development
- > Schools of Economic Thought, Epistemology of Economics > Heterodox Approaches > Institutional Economics
- > Economic History
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
- Diskussion:Kolonialismus/Archiv/1 in Wikipedia German ne '')
- The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation (AER 2001) in ReplicationWiki
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.