Reversal of fortune

Author(s): Acemoglu, Daron; Johnson, Simon; Robinson, James A

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Abstract Among countries colonized by European powers during the past 500 years, those that were relatively rich in 1500 are now relatively poor. We document this reversal sing data on rbanization patterns and population density, which, we argue, proxy for economic prosperity. This reversal weighs against a view that links economic development to geographic factors. Instead, we argue that the reversal reflects changes in the institutions resulting from European colonialism. The European intervention appears to have created an "institutional reversal" among these societies, meaning that Europeans were more likely to introduce institutions encouraging investment in regions that were previously poor. This institutional reversal accounts for the reversal in relative incomes. We provide further support for this view by documenting that the reversal in relative incomes took place during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and resulted from societies with good institutions taking advantage of the opportunity to industrialize.
Publication Title The Quarterly Journal of Economics
Publisher MIT Press
Publication Date 2002
URIs http://www.econis.eu/PPNSET?PPN=364867124
http://www.jstor.org/stable/4132478
http://gateway.webofknowledge.com/gateway/Gateway.cgi?GWVersion=2&SrcAuth=SerialsSolutions&SrcApp=Summon&KeyUT=000179698800003&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=WOS
http://search.proquest.com/docview/211005566
Keywords 1500-2000
Analysis
Bev\xf6lkerungsdichte
Colonialism
Development
Distribution
ECONOMICS
Economic History: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics, Industrial Structure, Growth, Fluctuations: General, International, or Comparative (N10)
Economic theory
Einkommensverteilung
GROWTH
Geographie
Geography
History
INCREASING RETURNS
Income
Income Distribution
Income distribution
Industrialisierung
Institutionen\xf6konomik
International aspects
Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development (O11)
Measurement of Economic Growth, Aggregate Productivity, Cross-Country Output Convergence (O47)
Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions (D31)
Population
Population density
Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes (R11)
Selected Countries
Studies
Theorie
Urbanisierung
Urbanization
Verm\xf6gen
Welt
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