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Geography vs. Institutions at the Village Level

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Abstract

There is a well-known debate about the roles of geography versus institutions in explaining the long-term development of countries. These debates have usually been based on cross-country regressions where questions about parameter heterogeneity, unobserved heterogeneity, and endogeneity cannot easily be controlled for. The innovation of Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson (2001) was to address this last point by using settler mortality as an instrument for geography-induced endogenous institutions and found that this supported their line of reasoning. We believe there is value-added to consider this debate at the micro level within a country as particularly questions of parameter heterogeneity and unobserved heterogeneity are likely to be smaller than between countries. Moreover, at the micro level it is possible to identify more precise transmission mechanisms from geography via institutions to economic development outcomes. In particular, we examine the determinants of economic development across villages on the Indonesian Island of Sulawesi and find that geography-induced endogenous emergence of land rights is the critical institutional link between geographic conditions and technological change. We therefore highlight and empirically validate a new transmission channel from endogenously generated institutions on economic development.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Grimm & Stephan Klasen, 2008. "Geography vs. Institutions at the Village Level," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 169, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:got:iaidps:169
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    Cited by:

    1. Beekman, Gonne & Bulte, Erwin H., 2012. "Social norms, tenure security and soil conservation: Evidence from Burundi," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 50-63.
    2. repec:nbr:nberch:13373 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Margaret S. McMillan & William A. Masters & Harounan Kazianga, 2011. "Rural Demography, Public Services and Land Rights in Africa: A Village-Level Analysis in Burkina Faso," NBER Working Papers 17718, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Kazianga, Harounan & Masters, William A. & McMillan, Margaret S., 2014. "Disease control, demographic change and institutional development in Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 313-326.
    5. Margaret S. McMillan & William A. Masters & Harounan Kazianga, 2014. "Demographic Pressure and Institutional Change: Village-Level Response to Rural Population Growth in Burkina Faso," NBER Chapters, in: African Successes, Volume I: Government and Institutions, pages 103-143, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Geography; migration; land rights; institutions; technology adoption; agricultural development; Indonesia.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • K11 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Property Law
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets

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