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Geography and Economic Development

Author

Listed:
  • John Luke Gallup
  • Jeffrey D. Sachs
  • Andrew Mellinger

Abstract

This paper addresses the complex relationship between geography and macroeconomic growth. We investigate the ways in which geography may matter directly for growth, controlling for economic policies and institutions, as well as the effects of geography on policy choices and institutions. We find that location and climate have large effects on income levels and income growth, through their effects on transport costs, disease burdens, and agricultural productivity, among other channels. Furthermore, geography seems to be a factor in the choice of economic policy itself. When we identify geographical regions that are not conducive to modern economic growth, we find that many of these regions have high population density and rapid population increase. This is especially true of populations that are located far from the coast, and thus that face large transport costs for international trade, as well as populations in tropical regions of high disease burden. Furthermore, much of the population increase in the next thirty years is likely to take place in these geographically disadvantaged regions.

Suggested Citation

  • John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Mellinger, 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," CID Working Papers 01A, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cid:wpfacu:01a
    as

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    File URL: https://www.hks.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/centers/cid/files/publications/faculty-working-papers/001.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
    2. anonymous, 1995. "Does the bouncing ball lead to economic growth?," Regional Update, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Jul, pages 1-2,4-6.
    3. Robert J. Barro, 2013. "Inflation and Economic Growth," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 14(1), pages 121-144, May.
    4. Kornai, Janos, 1992. "The Socialist System: The Political Economy of Communism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198287766.
    5. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
    6. Xavier Sala-I-Martin, 1997. "Transfers, Social Safety Nets, and Economic Growth," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 44(1), pages 81-102, March.
    7. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1995. "Institutions and Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Indicators," MPRA Paper 23118, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    geography; empirical growth models; transportation costs; tropical disease; tropical agriculture; urbanization; population;

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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