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Institutions and Geography: Comment on Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson (2000)

  • John W. McArthur
  • Jeffrey D. Sachs
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    This paper responds to findings by Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson (2000) that suggest weak institutions, but not physical geography and correlates like disease burden, explain current variation in levels of economic development across former colonies. Using similar data and expanding the sample of countries analyzed, our regression analysis shows that both institutions and geographically-related variables such as malaria incidence or life expectancy at birth are strongly linked to gross national product per capita. We argue that the evidence presented in Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson is likely limited by the inherently small sample of ex-colonies and the limited geographic dispersion of those countries.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8114.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8114.

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    Date of creation: Feb 2001
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8114
    Note: EFG
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
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    1. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. William A Masters and Margaret S McMillan, 2000. "Climate and Scale in Economic Growth," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2000-13, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    3. Gallup, J.L. & Sachs, J.D. & Mullinger, A., 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," Papers 1, Chicago - Graduate School of Business.
    4. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew D. Mellinger, 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 22(2), pages 179-232, August.
    5. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2000. "Tropical Underdevelopment," CID Working Papers 57, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    6. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, . "The Quality of Government," Working Paper 19452, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    7. David E. Bloom & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1998. "Geography, Demography, and Economic Growth in Africa," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 207-296.
    8. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Mellinger, 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," CID Working Papers 1, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
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