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Rent Seeking and the Unveiling of 'De Facto' Institutions: Development and Colonial Heritage within Brazil

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  • Joana Naritomi
  • Rodrigo R. Soares
  • Juliano J. Assunção

Abstract

This paper analyzes the roots of variation in de facto institutions, within a constant de jure institutional setting. We explore the role of rent-seeking episodes in colonial Brazil as determinants of the quality of current local institutions, and argue that this variation reveals a de facto dimension of institutional quality. We show that municipalities with origins tracing back to the sugar-cane colonial cycle -- characterized by a polarized and oligarchic socioeconomic structure -- display today more inequality in the distribution of land. Municipalities with origins tracing back to the gold colonial cycle -- characterized by an over-bureaucratic and heavily intervening presence of the Portuguese state -- display today worse governance practices and less access to justice. The colonial rent-seeking episodes are also correlated with lower provision of public goods and lower income per capita today, and the latter correlation seems to work partly through worse institutional quality at the local level.

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  • Joana Naritomi & Rodrigo R. Soares & Juliano J. Assunção, 2007. "Rent Seeking and the Unveiling of 'De Facto' Institutions: Development and Colonial Heritage within Brazil," NBER Working Papers 13545, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13545
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    Cited by:

    1. Davin Chor & Filipe R. Campante, 2008. "Schooling and Political Participation Revisited," Macroeconomics Working Papers 22072, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    2. de Carvalho Filho, Irineu & Monasterio, Leonardo, 2012. "Immigration and the origins of regional inequality: Government-sponsored European migration to southern Brazil before World War I," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(5), pages 794-807.
    3. Campante, Filipe R. & Chor, Davin, 2008. "Schooling and Political Participation in a Neoclassical Framework: Theory and Evidence," Working Paper Series rwp08-043, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    4. Vollrath, Dietrich, 2008. "Wealth Distribution and the Provision of Public Goods: Evidence from the United States," MPRA Paper 11534, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. André Martínez & Aldo Musacchio, 2009. "Endowments, Fiscal Federalism, and the Cost of Capital for States: Evidence from Brazil, 1891-1930," Working Papers 2009-12, Banco de México.
    6. André Martínez & Martina Viarengo & Aldo Musacchio, 2010. "The Great Leap Forward: The Political Economy of Education in Brazil, 1889-1930," Working Papers 2010-18, Banco de México.
    7. Francesco Caselli & Guy Michaels, 2013. "Do Oil Windfalls Improve Living Standards? Evidence from Brazil," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 208-238, January.
    8. Cortés Landázury, Raúl & Sinisterra Rodríguez, Mónica María, 2009. "Colombia: social capital, social movements and sustainable development in Cauca," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), December.
    9. Dakshina G. De Silva & Robert P. McComb & Anita R. Schiller, 2016. "What Blows in with the Wind?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 826-858, January.
    10. Martinez Fritscher, André C. & Musacchio, Aldo, 2010. "Endowments, fiscal federalism and the cost of capital for states: evidence from Brazil, 1891–1930," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(01), pages 13-50, April.
    11. Raveh, Ohad, 2010. "Dutch Disease, Factor Mobility Costs, and the ‘Alberta Effect’ – The Case of Federations," MPRA Paper 29662, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Briones, Roehlano M., 2009. "Asia's Underachiever: Deep Constraints in Philippine Economic Growth," Discussion Papers DP 2009-04, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
    13. Paulo Arvate & Vladimir Ponczek, 2008. "Municipality secession, voter’s preference and persistence of power," Working Papers 08_07, Universidade de São Paulo, Faculdade de Economia, Administração e Contabilidade de Ribeirão Preto.
    14. Bruhn, Miriam & Gallego, Francisco A., 2008. "Good, bad, and ugly colonial activities : studying development across the Americas," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4641, The World Bank.
    15. Leonardo Monasterio, 2010. "Brazilian spatial dynamics in the long term (1872–2000): “path dependency” or “reversal of fortune”?," Journal of Geographical Systems, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 51-67, March.
    16. Erik Jonasson, 2011. "Informal Employment and the Role of Regional Governance," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(3), pages 429-441, August.
    17. Michaels, Guy, 2010. "Challenges for research on resource-rich economies," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 55256, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    18. Luciano Nakabashi & Ana Elisa Gonçalves Pereira & Adolfo Sachsida, 2013. "Institutions and growth: a developing country case study," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 40(5), pages 614-634, October.
    19. Li, Lixing, 2011. "The incentive role of creating "cities" in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 172-181, March.
    20. André Martínez & Martina Viarengo & Aldo Musacchio, 2010. "The Great Leap Forward: The Political Economy of Education in Brazil, 1889-1930," Working Papers 2010-18, Banco de México.
    21. Almeida, Rita & Carneiro, Pedro, 2008. "Mandated benefits, employment, and inequality in a dual economy," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 45051, The World Bank.
    22. Raveh, Ohad, 2010. "Dutch disease, factor mobility costs, and the ‘Alberta Effect’ – The case of Federations," MPRA Paper 31744, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jun 2011.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N26 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • P14 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Property Rights
    • P28 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Natural Resources; Environment

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