IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The Historical Origins of Poverty in Developing Countries

Listed author(s):
  • Bhattacharyya, Sambit

In this chapter I explore the causal relationships between historical factors (for eg., geography, disease, colonial history, and technology) and poverty in developing countries. I start with a review of the existing theories. This is followed by a novel unified framework in order to causally relate these historical factors in explaining the process of development in Western Europe and the New World colonies. The final section applies this framework to explain why Africa, Latin America, and Russia fell behind. My central argument is that Western Europe benefitted from favourable geography which led to highly productive agriculture, food surplus, and institutions conducive to development. In contrast, Africa continues to suffer from unfavourable geography and disease. Institutional weaknesses in Latin America and Russia explain their relatively weak long term economic performance. I also argue that these historical factors matter for contemporary patterns of development across the globe. The chapter concludes with some suggestions for future research on this topic.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/67902/1/MPRA_paper_67902.pdf
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 67902.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Apr 2016
Publication status: Forthcoming in Oxford Handbook of the Social Science of Poverty (2016): pp. 270-292
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:67902
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Ludwigstra├če 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany

Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2459
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-992459
Web page: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. Nathan Nunn, 2008. "The Long-term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 139-176.
  2. 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.
  3. Jan Willem Gunning & Paul Collier, 1999. "Explaining African Economic Performance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 64-111, March.
  4. 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.
  5. North, Douglass C, 1994. "Economic Performance through Time," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 359-368, June.
  6. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2006. "Das Human-Kapital: A Theory of the Demise of the Class Structure," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 85-117.
  7. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1995. "Institutions and Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Indicators," MPRA Paper 23118, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Sambit Bhattacharyya, 2011. "Growth Miracles and Growth Debacles," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 13609.
  11. 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.
  12. Bhattacharyya, Sambit, 2009. "Unbundled institutions, human capital and growth," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 106-120, March.
  13. North, Douglass C., 1989. "Institutions and economic growth: An historical introduction," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 17(9), pages 1319-1332, September.
  14. Gregory Clark, 2007. "Introduction to A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World," Introductory Chapters,in: A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World Princeton University Press.
  15. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2000. "Agriculture, Climate, and Technology: Why are the Tropics Falling Behind?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 82(3), pages 731-737.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:67902. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.