The Persistence of (Subnational) Fortune
39 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2017
Date Written: December 2016
Using newly collected subnational data, this article establishes the within‐country persistence of economic activity in the New World over the last half millennium, a period including the trauma of European colonisation, the drastic reduction of native populations and the imposition of potentially growth inhibiting institutions. High pre‐colonial density areas tend to be denser today due to locational fundamentals and agglomeration effects: colonialists established settlements near existing native populations for reasons of labour, trade, knowledge and defence. These areas, identified with pre‐colonial prosperity, also tend to have higher incomes today suggesting that at the subnational level, fortune persists.
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