The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation

Revista de Economía Institucional, Vol. 7, No. 13, 2005

51 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2005

See all articles by Daron Acemoglu

Daron Acemoglu

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Simon Johnson

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Entrepreneurship Center; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

James A. Robinson

Harvard University - Department of Government; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Abstract

This article uses the different mortality rates of European colonialists to estimate the effect of institutions on economic performance. Europeans adopted very different colonization policies in different colonies. In places where mortality rates were high they did not settle, but set up extractive institutions that exist to the present day. By exploring the different mortality rates faced by soldiers, bishops and sailors in the colonies in the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries, we were able to estimate the long-term effect of colonial institutions on per capita income.

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Keywords: European colonization, institutions, economic development, mortality rates, per capita income

JEL Classification: D02, N30, N40, O15

Suggested Citation

Acemoglu, Daron and Johnson, Simon and Robinson, James A., The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation. Revista de Economía Institucional, Vol. 7, No. 13, 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=859644

Daron Acemoglu (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Simon Johnson

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Entrepreneurship Center ( email )

United States
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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James A. Robinson

Harvard University - Department of Government ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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