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Institutions, Factor Endowments, and Paths of Development in the New World

  • Kenneth L. Sokoloff
  • Stanley L. Engerman

The explanations offered for the contrasting records of long-run growth and development among the societies of North and South America most often focus on institutions. The traditional explanations for the sources of these differences in institutions, typically highlight the significance of national heritage or religion. We, in contrast, argue that a hemispheric perspective across the wide range of colonies established in the New World by the Europeans suggests that although there were many influences, factor endowments or initial conditions had profound and enduring effects on the long-run paths of institutional and economic development followed by the respective economies.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.14.3.217
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 14 (2000)
Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
Pages: 217-232

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:14:y:2000:i:3:p:217-232
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.14.3.217
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  1. Easterlin, Richard A., 1981. "Why Isn't the Whole World Developed?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(01), pages 1-17, March.
  2. Stanley L. Engerman & Stephen H. Haber & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 2000. "Inequality, institution and differential paths of growth among New World economies," Chapters, in: Institutions, Contracts and Organizations, chapter 11 Edward Elgar.
  3. 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.
  4. Nugent, Jeffrey B & Robinson, James A, 2002. "Are Endowments Fate?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3206, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Domar, Evsey D., 1970. "The Causes of Slavery or Serfdom: A Hypothesis," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 30(01), pages 18-32, March.
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