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Geography and Institutions: A Review of Plausible and Implausible Linkages

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  • Olsson, Ola

    () (Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University)

Abstract

In recent years, empirical investigations have shown that various aspects of physical geography are closely related to the quality of a country’s economic institutions. For instance, distance from the equator in latitude degrees is positively correlated to both institutional quality and to levels of economic development. In order to reach a better understanding for this type of regularities, this article reviews the growing empirical literature on geography and institutions, as well as a large body of older and newer theoretical works on the social impacts of geography. It is argued that the most plausible candidates for explaining the broadest cross-continental variance in institutional quality are those focusing on historical differences in biogeographical potential for early agriculture and on the importance of disease geography for European colonization strategy.

Suggested Citation

  • Olsson, Ola, 2003. "Geography and Institutions: A Review of Plausible and Implausible Linkages," Working Papers in Economics 106, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0106
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/2805
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A, 2002. "An African Success Story: Botswana," CEPR Discussion Papers 3219, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. 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.
    4. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson, 2005. "The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutional Change, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 546-579, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Edgardo Sica, 2005. "Climatic differences and Economic Growth across Italian Provinces: First Empirical Evidence," Quaderni DSEMS 20-2005, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche, Matematiche e Statistiche, Universita' di Foggia.
    2. Hossein Mirshojaeian Hosseini & Shinji Kaneko, 2012. "Spatial Spillover of Governance and Institutional Quality: A Spatial Econometric Approach," IDEC DP2 Series 2-3, Hiroshima University, Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation (IDEC).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    geography; institutions; topography; geology; biogeography; climate; development;

    JEL classification:

    • N40 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N50 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • P33 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - International Trade, Finance, Investment, Relations, and Aid

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