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Pre-colonial institutions and socioeconomic development: The case of Latin America

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  • Angeles, Luis
  • Elizalde, Aldo

Abstract

We study the effects of pre-colonial institutions on present-day socioeconomic outcomes for Latin America. Our thesis is that more advanced pre-colonial institutions relate to better socioeconomic outcomes today. We advance that pre-colonial institutions survived to our days thanks to the existence of largely self-governed Amerindian communities in rural Latin America. Amerindians groups with more advanced institutional capacity would have been able to organize and defend their interests in front of national governments; leading to better development outcomes for themselves and for the population at large. We test our thesis with a dataset of 324 sub-national administrative units covering all mainland Latin American countries. Our extensive range of controls covers factors such as climate, location, natural resources, colonial activities and pre-colonial characteristics – plus country fixed effects. Results strongly support our thesis.

Suggested Citation

  • Angeles, Luis & Elizalde, Aldo, 2017. "Pre-colonial institutions and socioeconomic development: The case of Latin America," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 22-40.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:124:y:2017:i:c:p:22-40
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2016.08.006
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    1. repec:anr:reveco:v:10:y:2018:p:383-410 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2018. "Spatial Patterns of Development: A Meso Approach," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 10(1), pages 383-410, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Latin America; Institutions; Pre-colonial factors; Amerindians; Long-run development;

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth

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