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Geography Rules Too! Economic Development and the Geography of Institutions


  • Maarten Bosker
  • Harry Garretsen


To explain cross-country income differences, research has recently focused on the so-called deep determinants of economic development, notably institutions and geography. This paper sheds a different light on these determinants. We use spatial econometrics to analyse the importance of the geography of institutions. We show that it is not only absolute geography, in terms of for instance climate, but also relative geography, the spatial linkages between countries, that matters for a country’s gdp per capita. Apart from a country’s own institutions, institutions in neighboring countries turn out to be relevant as well. This finding is robust to various alternative specifications.

Suggested Citation

  • Maarten Bosker & Harry Garretsen, 2006. "Geography Rules Too! Economic Development and the Geography of Institutions," CESifo Working Paper Series 1769, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1769

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ades, Alberto & Chua, Hak B, 1997. "Thy Neighbor's Curse: Regional Instability and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 279-304, September.
    2. Dani Rodrik & Arvind Subramanian & Francesco Trebbi, 2004. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions Over Geography and Integration in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 131-165, June.
    3. Redding, Stephen & Venables, Anthony J., 2004. "Economic geography and international inequality," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 53-82, January.
    4. Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 271-303, September.
    5. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2003. "Institutions Don't Rule: Direct Effects of Geography on Per Capita Income," NBER Working Papers 9490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Nicholas Crafts & Anthony Venables, 2003. "Globalization in History.A Geographical Perspective," NBER Chapters,in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 323-370 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    8. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eco:journ1:2017-04-65 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Adams, Samuel, 2009. "Foreign Direct investment, domestic investment, and economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 939-949, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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