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Institutions, Diseases and Economic Progress: A Unified Framework

  • Sambit Bhattacharyya

The sharp division between the 'institutions view' and the 'disease view' has been one of the distinctive features of the 'root causes of economic progress' literature. Based on evidence from cross-national data, the 'institutions school' claims that institutions are the only root cause of development, whereas the 'disease school' claims that diseases are also equally important. In this paper, I contribute to this literature by proposing a unified structure to marry the two conflicting views. I argue that overcoming diseases are of prime importance at an early stage of economic development, whereas institutions are more important at a later stage. I find support for this hypothesis in the development history literature on Africa, India, China and the Americas.

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File URL: https://crawford.anu.edu.au/acde/publications/publish/papers/wp2008/wp_econ_2008_15.pdf
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Paper provided by The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 2008-15.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pas:papers:2008-15
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  1. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2003. "Unbundling Institutions," NBER Working Papers 9934, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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, 09.
  3. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon H. & Robinson, James A., 2003. "The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutioanl Change and Economic Growth," Working papers 4269-02, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  4. 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.
  5. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2003. "Institutions Don't Rule: Direct Effects of Geography on Per Capita Income," NBER Working Papers 9490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Nathan Nunn, 2005. "Historical Legacies: A Model Linking Africa's Past to its Current Underdevelopment," Development and Comp Systems 0508008, EconWPA.
  7. James A. Robinson, 2006. "Equity, Institutions and the Development Process," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 32, pages 17-50.
  8. G. Hodgson., 2007. "What Are Institutions?," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 8.
  9. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A & Thaicharoen, Yunyong, 2002. "Institutional Causes, Macroeconomic Symptoms: Volatility, Crises and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 3575, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. 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.
  11. Abhijit Banerjee & Lakshmi Iyer, 2010. "History Institutions and Economic Performance: The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India," Working Papers id:2811, eSocialSciences.
  12. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 2002. "Tropics, Germs, and Crops: How Endowments Influence Economic Development," Working Papers 15, Center for Global Development.
  13. Peter Lorentzen & John McMillan & Romain Wacziarg, 2006. "Death and Development," 2006 Meeting Papers 61, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  14. Glaeser, Edward L. & La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," Scholarly Articles 27867242, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "The Quality of Government," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1847, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  16. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2006. "Disease and Development: The Effect of Life Expectancy on Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 12269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Why Did the West Extend the Franchise? Democracy, Inequality, and Growth in Historical Perspective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1167-1199.
  18. Carstensen, Kai & Gundlach, Erich, 2006. "The primacy of institutions reconsidered: Direct income effects of malaria prevalence," Munich Reprints in Economics 19929, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  19. 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, 06.
  20. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," NBER Working Papers 8460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson, 2003. "Disease and Development in Historical Perspective," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 397-405, 04/05.
  22. Dutt, Amitava Krishna, 1992. "The Origins of Uneven Development: The Indian Subcontinent," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 146-50, May.
  23. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?," NBER Working Papers 6564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Shankha Chakraborty & Chris Papageorgiou & Fidel Pérez Sebastián, 2006. "Diseases and Development," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_044, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  25. 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.
  26. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
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