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Forced Coexistence and Economic Development: Evidence From Native American Reservations


  • Christian Dippel


Studying Native American reservations, and their historical formation, I find that their forced integration of autonomous polities into a system of shared governance had large negative long‐run consequences, even though the affected people were ethnically and linguistically homogenous. Reservations that combined multiple sub‐tribal bands when they were formed are 30% poorer today, even when conditioning on pre‐reservation political traditions. The results hold with tribe fixed effects, identifying only off within‐tribe variation across reservations. I also provide estimates from an instrumental variable strategy based on historical mining rushes that led to exogenously more centralized reservations. Data on the timing of economic divergence and on contemporary political conflict suggest that the primary mechanism runs from persistent social divisions through the quality of local governance to the local economic environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Dippel, 2014. "Forced Coexistence and Economic Development: Evidence From Native American Reservations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82, pages 2131-2165, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:emetrp:v:82:y:2014:i::p:2131-2165

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    Cited by:

    1. Tommaso Colussi & Ingo Isphording & Nico Pestel, 2019. "Minority Salience and Political Extremism," DISCE - Working Papers del Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza def080, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
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    3. 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.
    4. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:6:p:1958-:d:151849 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. R. Warren Anderson, 2016. "Native American reservation constitutions," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 27(4), pages 377-398, December.
    6. Aragón, Fernando M., 2015. "Do better property rights improve local income?: Evidence from First Nations' treaties," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 43-56.
    7. repec:eee:macchp:v2-923 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Colussi, Tommaso & Isphording, Ingo E. & Pestel, Nico, 2016. "Minority Salience and Political Extremism," IZA Discussion Papers 10417, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Donna Feir & Rob Gillezeau & Maggie Jones, 2018. "Illuminating Indigenous Economic Development," Department Discussion Papers 1806, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.
    10. Michalopoulos, Stelios & Papaioannou, Elias, 2015. "Further evidence on the link between pre-colonial political centralization and comparative economic development in Africa," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 57-62.
    11. repec:eee:jcecon:v:47:y:2019:i:1:p:225-237 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Donna Feir & Rob Gillezeau & Maggie Jones, 2017. "The Slaughter of the North American Bison and Reversal of Fortunes on the Great Plains," Department Discussion Papers 1701, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.
    13. repec:pal:compes:v:60:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1057_s41294-018-0064-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. 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.
    15. Valentina Dimitrova-Grajzl & Peter Grajzl & A. Joseph Guse & Richard M. Todd & Michael Williams, 2018. "Neighborhood Racial Characteristics, Credit History, and Bankcard Credit in Indian Country," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 60(3), pages 410-441, September.
    16. repec:eee:deveco:v:130:y:2018:i:c:p:17-32 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Fuentes Cordoba, Gabriel, 2019. "Does the recognition of indigenous territories impact household economic situations? Evidence from western Panama," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 225-237.
    18. Bukowski, Paweł, 2018. "How history matters for student performance: lessons from the Partitions of Poland," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 90643, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    19. repec:eee:jcecon:v:47:y:2019:i:1:p:136-175 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Fuchs-Schündeln, N. & Hassan, T.A., 2016. "Natural Experiments in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    21. Feir, Donna & Gillezeau, Rob & Jones, Maggie E.C., 2019. "The Slaughter of the Bison and Reversal of Fortunes on the Great Plains," Center for Indian Country Development series 1-2019, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    22. Donna Feir & Rob Gillezeau & Maggie Jones, 2017. "Illuminating Economic Development in Indigenous Communities," Department Discussion Papers 1704, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.
    23. Broich, Tobias & Szirmai, Adam & Thomsson, Kaj, 2015. "Precolonial centralisation, foreign aid and modern state capacity in Africa," MERIT Working Papers 025, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).

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