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Institutional Development and Colonial Heritage within Brazil

Author

Listed:
  • Joana Narotomi

    (Harvard University)

  • Rodrigo Soares

    () (Department of Economics PUC-Rio)

  • Juliano J. Assunção

    () (Department of Economics PUC-Rio)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the determinants of local institutions and distribution of political power within a constant ‘macro-institutional’ setting. We show that characteristics of Brazilian municipalities related to institutional quality and distribution of political power are partly inherited from the colonial histories experienced by different areas of the country. Municipalities with origins tracing back to the sugar-cane colonial cycle – characterized by a polarized and oligarchic socioeconomic structure – display today more inequality in the distribution of endowments (land). Municipalities with origins tracing back to the gold colonial cycle – characterized by a heavily inefficient presence of the Portuguese state – display today worse governance practices and less access to justice. The colonial rent-seeking episodes are also correlated with lower provision of public goods and lower income per capita.

Suggested Citation

  • Joana Narotomi & Rodrigo Soares & Juliano J. Assunção, 2009. "Institutional Development and Colonial Heritage within Brazil," Textos para discussão 561, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
  • Handle: RePEc:rio:texdis:561
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    institutions; colonial heritage; rent-seeking; geography; Brazil JEL Codes: N26; O17; O40;

    JEL classification:

    • N26 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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