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Unbundling Ex-Colonies: A Comment on Acemoglu, Johnson, and Robinson, 2001

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  • Olsson, Ola

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

Abstract

In this comment on AJR (2001), we argue that a bundling of all former colonies into one ‘colonial’ theory of comparative development is problematic for several reasons. During the mercantilist wave of mainly Latin American colonization between 1500-1830, strong capitalist institutions were largely non-existent in the Western world. During the scrable for Africa, starting in 1885, good institutions were an option, but the disease environment had then drastically changed. We show that when AJR’s sample of 64 former colonies is disaggregated into a Latin American, an African, and an Asian/Neo-European subsample, the proposed relationship between settler mortality and institutions is weak or rejected for Latin America and Africa.

Suggested Citation

  • Olsson, Ola, 2004. "Unbundling Ex-Colonies: A Comment on Acemoglu, Johnson, and Robinson, 2001," Working Papers in Economics 146, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0146
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/2771
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    1. 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.
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    3. Zivot, Eric & Startz, Richard & Nelson, Charles R, 1998. "Valid Confidence Intervals and Inference in the Presence of Weak Instruments," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1119-1146, November.
    4. Grier, Robin M, 1999. "Colonial Legacies and Economic Growth," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 317-335, March.
    5. 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.
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    7. 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.
    8. Bertocchi, Graziella & Canova, Fabio, 2002. "Did colonization matter for growth?: An empirical exploration into the historical causes of Africa's underdevelopment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1851-1871, December.
    9. 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.
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    11. 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.
    12. Albouy, David, 2006. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Investigation of the Settler Mortality Data," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt8kt576x8, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rockey, James, 2012. "Reconsidering the fiscal effects of constitutions," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 313-323.
    2. Fuchs-Schündeln, N. & Hassan, T.A., 2016. "Natural Experiments in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    3. Sophie Webber, 2015. "Randomising Development: Geography, Economics and the Search for Scientific Rigour," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 106(1), pages 36-52, February.
    4. Daniel L. Bennett & Hugo J. Faria & James D. Gwartney & Daniel R. Morales, 2016. "Economic Institutions and Comparative Economic Development: A Post-Colonial Perspective," Working Papers 2016-07, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
    5. Robin Grier & Beatriz Maldonado, 2015. "Electoral Experience, Institutional Quality and Economic Development in Latin America," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(2), pages 253-280, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    geography; institutions; 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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