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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 14 No. 3 (Summer 2000)

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Institutions, Factor Endowments, and Paths of Development in the New World

Article Citation

Sokoloff, Kenneth L., and Stanley L. Engerman. 2000. "Institutions, Factor Endowments, and Paths of Development in the New World." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 14(3): 217-232.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.14.3.217

Abstract

The explanations offered for the contrasting records of long-run growth and development among the societies of North and South America most often focus on institutions. The traditional explanations for the sources of these differences in institutions, typically highlight the significance of national heritage or religion. We, in contrast, argue that a hemispheric perspective across the wide range of colonies established in the New World by the Europeans suggests that although there were many influences, factor endowments or initial conditions had profound and enduring effects on the long-run paths of institutional and economic development followed by the respective economies.

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Authors

Sokoloff, Kenneth L. (UCLA and NBER)
Engerman, Stanley L. (U Rochester and NBER)

JEL Classifications

N16: Economic History: Macroeconomics; Growth and Fluctuations: Latin America; Caribbean

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