The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation: Comment
Acemoglu, Johnson, and Robinson's (2001) seminal article argues property-rights institutions powerfully affect national income, using estimated mortality rates of early European settlers to instrument capital expropriation risk. However, 36 of the 64 countries in the sample are assigned mortality rates from other countries, often based on mistaken or conflicting evidence. Also, incomparable mortality rates from populations of laborers, bishops, and soldiers--often on campaign--are combined in a manner that favors the hypothesis. When these data issues are controlled for, the relationship between mortality and expropriation risk lacks robustness, and instrumental-variable estimates become unreliable, often with infinite confidence intervals. (JEL D02, E23, F54, I12, N40, O43, P14)
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Volume (Year): 102 (2012)
Issue (Month): 6 (October)
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