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The Colonial and Geographic Origins of Comparative Development

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Abstract

While the direct impact of geographic endowments on prosperity is present in all countries, in former colonies, geography has also affected colonization policies and, therefore, institutional outcomes. Using non-colonized countries as a control group, I develop an empirical strategy that disentangles the partial effects of institutions and of endowments on income. I find that institutions are the main determinant of development, but that endowments have a sizeable direct impact, as well. Last, I apply the empirical strategy to examine the theories put forward by La Porta et al. (1999) and by Acemoglu et al. (2001), finding support for both theories, but also evidence that the authors’ estimates are biased since they mix up the effect of the historical determinants of institutions with the sizeable direct impact of access to trade and of disease environment.

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  • Raphael Auer, 2009. "The Colonial and Geographic Origins of Comparative Development," Working Papers 09.03, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.
  • Handle: RePEc:szg:worpap:0903
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    Cited by:

    1. Raphael A. Auer, 2013. "Geography, institutions, and the making of comparative development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 179-215, June.
    2. Elisabeth Benecke, 2011. "Networking for climate change: agency in the context of renewable energy governance in India," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 23-42, March.

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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
    • P51 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Analysis of Economic Systems
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • N50 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • F54 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Colonialism; Imperialism; Postcolonialism

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