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Tropics, Germs, and Crops: How Endowments Influence Economic Development

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  • William Easterly
  • Ross Levine

Abstract

Does economic development depend on geographic endowments like temperate instead of tropical location, the ecological conditions shaping diseases, or an environment good for grains or certain cash crops? Or do these endowments of tropics, germs, and crops affect economic development only through institutions or policies? We test the endowment, institution, and policy views against each other using cross country evidence. We find evidence that tropics, germs, and crops affect development through institutions. We find no evidence that tropics, germs, and crops affect country incomes directly other than through institutions, nor do we find any effect of policies on development once we control for institutions.

Suggested Citation

  • William Easterly & Ross Levine, 2002. "Tropics, Germs, and Crops: How Endowments Influence Economic Development," Working Papers 15, Center for Global Development.
  • Handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:15
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    economic development; geographic endowments;

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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