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Where Does Economic Development Really Come From? Constitutional Rule among the Contemporary Sioux and Apache


  • Cornell, Stephen
  • Kalt, Joseph P


Governments are public goods that provide the organizational and legal structures by which societies arrange and enforce 'rules of the game' that enable divisions of labor, exchange, and collective action. The authors argue that shared, preconstitutional cultural norms of political legitimacy among rational individuals provide the foundations of effective self-government. The performance of contemporary Apache and Sioux economies on Indian reservations governed by common federally imposed constitutions is examined to test the framework. Unlike the impoverished Sioux, the relatively successful Apaches are found to have preexisting political norms that (serendipidously) match the structure of their formal constitution. Copyright 1995 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Cornell, Stephen & Kalt, Joseph P, 1995. "Where Does Economic Development Really Come From? Constitutional Rule among the Contemporary Sioux and Apache," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(3), pages 402-426, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:33:y:1995:i:3:p:402-26

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. Romer, Christina D., 1992. "What Ended the Great Depression?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(04), pages 757-784, December.
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    9. Ben Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1990. "Financial Fragility and Economic Performance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(1), pages 87-114.
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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Berkowitz & Karen Clay, "undated". "Initial Conditions, Institutional Dynamics and Economic Performance: Evidence from the American States," American Law & Economics Association Annual Meetings 1083, American Law & Economics Association.
    2. Cornell, Stephen & Kalt, Joseph P., 2003. "Alaska Native Self-Government and Service Delivery: What Works?," Working Paper Series rwp03-042, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    3. Kalt, Joseph P. & Singer, Joseph William, 2004. "Myths and Realities of Tribal Sovereignty: The Law and Economics of Indian Self-Rule," Working Paper Series rwp04-016, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    4. Akee, Randall & Jorgensen, Miriam & Sunde, Uwe, 2015. "Critical junctures and economic development – Evidence from the adoption of constitutions among American Indian Nations," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 844-861.
    5. Watson, Tara, 2006. "Public health investments and the infant mortality gap: Evidence from federal sanitation interventions on U.S. Indian reservations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1537-1560, September.
    6. Randall K. Q. Akee & Katherine A. Spilde & Jonathan B. Taylor, 2015. "The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and Its Effects on American Indian Economic Development," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 185-208, Summer.
    7. repec:eee:touman:v:31:y:2010:i:5:p:684-690 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:eee:deveco:v:130:y:2018:i:c:p:17-32 is not listed on IDEAS

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