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Economic development, growth, institutions and geography


  • Bhupatiraju S.
  • Verspagen B.



In this paper, we test the Rodrik et al 2004 framework to explain differences in development levels across countries by using a broader set of definitions for institutions, geography and economic variables. We use a multi-faceted database to measure institutions in an attempt to go beyond the single-dimension measures that are often employed. We find that institutions trump other factors geography and trade when we use GDP per capita as an independent variable. When we expand the dependent variable to include other aspects of development, such as growth and investment, we find that institutions, growth and geography are all important variables. In this case, institutions no longer trump the other factors. In this case, we also find that the same institutions variable that was positively associated to GDP per capita is now negatively correlated with the more dynamic development variable.

Suggested Citation

  • Bhupatiraju S. & Verspagen B., 2013. "Economic development, growth, institutions and geography," MERIT Working Papers 056, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2013056

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sudip Ranjan Basu, 2008. "A new way to link development to institutions,policies and geography," IHEID Working Papers 04-2008, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies, revised Mar 2008.
    2. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2002. "Growth Is Good for the Poor," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 195-225, September.
    3. 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, June.
    4. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2003. "Institutions, trade, and growth : revisiting the evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3004, The World Bank.
    5. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
    6. Bhupathiraju, Samyukta & Verspagen, Bart & Ziesemer, Thomas, 2013. "Summarizing large spatial datasets: Spatial principal components and spatial canonical correlation," MERIT Working Papers 011, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    7. 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.
    8. Flavio Vilela Vieira & Aderbal Oliveira Damasceno, 2011. "Is There a Primary Roleof Institutions on Explaining Cross Country Differences in IncomeLevels and Long-Run Economic Growth?," Anais do XXXVII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 37th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 77, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    9. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 441-487.
    10. Francisco Rodriguez & Dani Rodrik, 2001. "Trade Policy and Economic Growth: A Skeptic's Guide to the Cross-National Evidence," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15, pages 261-338 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. repec:hrv:faseco:30747160 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Noguer, Marta & Siscart, Marc, 2005. "Trade raises income: a precise and robust result," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 447-460, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dawood Mamoon & S. Mansoob Murshed, 2017. "When Education Explains Strong Institutions: Trade Policy also Matters," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 131(3), pages 1179-1210, April.

    More about this item


    Economic Development; Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance; Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements;

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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