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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. Peter Lorentzen & John McMillan & Romain Wacziarg, 2008. "Death and development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 81-124, June.
  2. Abhijit Banerjee & Lakshmi Iyer, 2010. "History Institutions and Economic Performance: The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India," Working Papers id:2811, eSocialSciences.
  3. 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.
  4. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A, 2003. "The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutional Change and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 3712, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, . "The Quality of Government," Working Paper 19452, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  8. Rodrik, Dani & Subramanian, Arvind & Trebbi, Francesco, 2002. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions Over Geography and Integration in Economic Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 3643, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. G. Hodgson., 2007. "What Are Institutions?," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 8.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Nathan Nunn, 2005. "Historical Legacies: A Model Linking Africa's Past to its Current Underdevelopment," Development and Comp Systems 0508008, EconWPA.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 2002. "Tropics, Germs, and Crops: How Endowments Influence Economic Development," Working Papers 15, Center for Global Development.
  16. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2007. "Disease and Development: The Effect of Life Expectancy on Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 925-985, December.
  17. 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.
  18. Shankha Chakraborty & Chris Papageorgiou & Fidel Pérez Sebastián, 2006. "Diseases and Development," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_044, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  19. 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, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1167-1199, November.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2003. "Unbundling Institutions," NBER Working Papers 9934, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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