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The Colonial and Geographic Origins of Comparative Development

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  • Raphael Anton Auer

Abstract

While the direct impact of geographic endowments on prosperity is present in all countries, in former colonies, geography has also affected colonization policies and institutional outcomes. Thus, one can disentangle the partial effects of endowments and institutions on income by utilizing the interaction of geography and colonial experience. I first document that climate and disease did affect institutional development in the group of former colonies while this is not the case in the rest of the world. Second, I develop an empirical strategy that identifies the relation between institutions and income but that also accounts for the direct effect of endowments. I find that institutions are the main determinant of development and that endowments also have a sizeable direct impact on development. Third, I highlight the importance of disease environment for both colonization policies and income directly.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Swiss National Bank in its series Working Papers with number 2008-08.

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Length: 76 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:snb:snbwpa:2008-08

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Keywords: Growth; Institutions; Geography; Comparative Development; Colonialism;

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References

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  1. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 2002. "Tropics, Germs, and Crops: How Endowments Influence Economic Development," Working Papers 15, Center for Global Development.
  2. 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.
  3. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2000. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," CID Working Papers 42, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  4. Alesina, Alberto & Devleeschauwer, Arnaud & Wacziarg, Romain & Kurlat, Sergio & Easterly, William, 2003. "Fractionalization," Scholarly Articles 4553003, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. David Y. Albouy, 2008. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Investigation of the Settler Mortality Data," NBER Working Papers 14130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Djankov, Simeon & Glaeser, Edward L & López-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2003. "The New Comparative Economics," CEPR Discussion Papers 3882, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. 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.
  8. Nicola Gennaioli & Ilia Rainer, 2007. "The modern impact of precolonial centralization in Africa," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 185-234, September.
  9. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal Of Fortune: Geography And Institutions In The Making Of The Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294, November.
  10. Dani Rodrik & Arvind Subramanian & Francesco Trebbi, 2004. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions Over Geography and Integration in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 131-165, 06.
  11. Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," NBER Working Papers 10568, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. James Feyrer & Bruce Sacerdote, 2006. "Colonialism and Modern Income -- Islands as Natural Experiments," NBER Working Papers 12546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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.
  14. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2003. "Institutions Don't Rule: Direct Effects of Geography on Per Capita Income," NBER Working Papers 9490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Francisco Gallego, 2008. "Historical Origins of Schooling: The Role of Democracy and Political Decentralization," Working Papers ClioLab 7, EH Clio Lab. Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
  16. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2003. "Institutions, trade, and growth : revisiting the evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3004, The World Bank.
  17. Nathan Nunn & Diego Puga, 2012. "Ruggedness: The Blessing of Bad Geography in Africa," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 20-36, February.
  18. David N. Weil, 2005. "Accounting for the Effect of Health on Economic Growth," Working Papers 2005-07, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  19. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Elisabeth Benecke, 2011. "Networking for climate change: agency in the context of renewable energy governance in India," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 23-42, March.

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