What Explains the Geographic Variation in Corporate Investment?
76 Pages Posted: 27 May 2021 Last revised: 10 Sep 2021
Date Written: May 22, 2021
We show that history can explain the geographic concentration of investment over and above traditional agglomerative forces, geography, and expectations. We use spatial variation in direct and indirect British rule to identify differences in historical circumstances. Using this within-country variation in historical circumstances, combined with a local identification approach and instrumental variable strategy, we explain the spatial differences in investment. Differences in historical origins can explain 13% of total geographic variation in investment. Moreover, investment is 8-10% lower in direct ruled areas. Our results indicate that history can have long-run consequences through its effect on economic organizations and state capacity.
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