The Reversal of Fortune Thesis Reconsidered
Acemoglu, Johnson, & Robinson (2002) have claimed that the world income distribution underwent a "Reversal of Fortune" from 1500 to the present, whereby formerly rich countries in what is now the developing world became poor while poor ones grew rich. We question their analysis with regard to both of their proxies for pre-modern income, namely urbanization and population density. First, an alternative measure of urbanization with more observations generates a positive (but not significant) correlation between pre-modern and contemporary income. Second, we show that their measure of population density as a proxy is highly flawed inasmuch as it does not properly measure density on arable land, and when corrected with better data the relationship is no longer robust. At best our results demonstrate a Reversal of Fortune only for the four neo-Europes of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States; at worst, we show no Reversal for other former colonies.
|Date of creation:||Apr 2010|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/default.asp|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Bertocchi, Graziella & Canova, Fabio, 1996.
"Did Colonization Matter for Growth? An Empirical Exploration into the Historical Causes of Africa's Underdevelopment,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
1444, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Bertocchi, Graziella & Canova, Fabio, 2002. "Did colonization matter for growth?: An empirical exploration into the historical causes of Africa's underdevelopment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1851-1871, December.
- Graziella Bertocchi & Fabio Canova, 1996. "Did colonization matter for growth? An empirical exploration into the historical causes of Africa's underdevelopment," Economics Working Papers 202, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
- Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 2003.
"Tropics, germs, and crops: how endowments influence economic development,"
Journal of Monetary Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 3-39, January.
- William Easterly & Ross Levine, 2002. "Tropics, Germs, and Crops: How Endowments Influence Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 9106, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- William Easterly & Ross Levine, 2002. "Tropics, Germs, and Crops: How Endowments Influence Economic Development," Working Papers 15, Center for Global Development.
- Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001.
"Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution,"
NBER Working Papers
8460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294.
- Moradi, Alexander, 2009.
"Towards an Objective Account of Nutrition and Health in Colonial Kenya: A Study of Stature in African Army Recruits and Civilians, 1880–1980,"
The Journal of Economic History,
Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(03), pages 719-754, September.
- Alexander Moradi, 2008. "Towards an Objective Account of Nutrition and Health in Colonial Kenya: A Study of Stature in African Army Recruits and Civilians, 1880-1980," CSAE Working Paper Series 2008-04, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
- Elise Huillery, 2009.
"History Matters: The Long-Term Impact of Colonial Public Investments in French West Africa,"
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics,
American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 176-215, April.
- Elise Huillery, 2009. "History Matters: The Long Term Impact of Colonial Public Investments in French West Africa," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/10262, Sciences Po.
- Louis Putterman & Valerie Bockstette, 2000.
"States and Markets:the Advantage of an Early Start,"
2000-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
- Bockstette, Valerie & Chanda, Areendam & Putterman, Louis, 2002. "States and Markets: The Advantage of an Early Start," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 347-69, December.
- William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997.
"Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
- Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
- Olsson, Ola & Hibbs Jr., Douglas A., 2000.
"Biogeography and Long-Run Economic Development,"
Working Papers in Economics
26, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 11 Aug 2000.
- Sambit Bhattacharyya, 2009.
"Root Causes of African Underdevelopment,"
Journal of African Economies,
Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 18(5), pages 745-780, November.
- Sambit Bhattacharyya, 2008. "Root Causes of African Underdevelopment," Departmental Working Papers 2008-16, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
- Sambit Bhattacharyya, 2007. "Root Causes of African Underdevelopment," Working Papers in Economics and Development Studies (WoPEDS) 200704, Department of Economics, Padjadjaran University, revised Apr 2007.
- Long, Jason, 2005. "Rural-Urban Migration and Socioeconomic Mobility in Victorian Britain," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(01), pages 1-35, March.
- Gareth Austin, 2008. "The 'reversal of fortune' thesis and the compression of history: Perspectives from African and comparative economic history," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(8), pages 996-1027.
- David E. Bloom & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1998. "Geography, Demography, and Economic Growth in Africa," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 207-296.
- Emily Oster, 2004. "Witchcraft, Weather and Economic Growth in Renaissance Europe," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 215-228, Winter.
- Annable, James E, Jr, 1972. "Internal Migration and Urban Unemployment in Low-income Countries: A Problem in Simultaneous Equations," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(3), pages 399-412, November.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cep:stieop:016. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.