Western Expansion as a Common Pool Problem: The Contrasting Histories of the Brazilian and North-American Pioneers
American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Vol. 68, No. 3, pp. 775-789, July 2009
Posted: 10 Sep 2011
Date Written: September 9, 2009
Before the year 1600, Brazil and the United States were very similar regions in terms of geographic development and colonial status, and yet both countries developed in remarkably different ways. In this article, we apply institutional analysis and the common pool approach to explain differences in the western expansion of Brazil and the United States. We find that (i) such analysis complements much of the previous literature that heretofore explained differences in these regions using sociological and ideological analytical tools, and (ii) the theory that the distinctive behavior between the Brazilian "bandeirantes" and the North American pioneers is due to sociological factors is refuted.
Keywords: institutional economics, neoinstitutional economics, economic history, economic development, Brazil
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