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

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  • John W. McArthur
  • Jeffrey D. Sachs

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • John W. McArthur & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2001. "Institutions and Geography: Comment on Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson (2000)," NBER Working Papers 8114, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8114
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2000. "Tropical Underdevelopment," CID Working Papers 57, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    2. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
    3. 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.
    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. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Mellinger, 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," CID Working Papers 1, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    6. Masters, William A & McMillan, Margaret S, 2001. "Climate and Scale in Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 167-186, September.
    7. 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.
    8. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2000. "Tropical Underdevelopment," CID Working Papers 57A, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    9. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Mellinger, 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," CID Working Papers 01A, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    10. Gallup, John & Sachs, Jeffrey, 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) Papers 294434, Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government.
    11. Gallup, J.L. & Sachs, J.D. & Mullinger, A., 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," Papers 1, Chicago - Graduate School of Business.
    12. repec:hrv:faseco:30747160 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Masters, William A & McMillan, Margaret S, 2001. "Climate and Scale in Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 167-86, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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