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Geography and Institutions: A Review of Plausible and Implausible Linkages

Ola Olsson ()

No 106, Working Papers in Economics from University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics

Abstract: In recent years, empirical investigations have shown that various aspects of physical geography are closely related to the quality of a country’s economic institutions. For instance, distance from the equator in latitude degrees is positively correlated to both institutional quality and to levels of economic development. In order to reach a better understanding for this type of regularities, this article reviews the growing empirical literature on geography and institutions, as well as a large body of older and newer theoretical works on the social impacts of geography. It is argued that the most plausible candidates for explaining the broadest cross-continental variance in institutional quality are those focusing on historical differences in biogeographical potential for early agriculture and on the importance of disease geography for European colonization strategy.

Keywords: geography; institutions; topography; geology; biogeography; climate; development (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N40 N50 P33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-geo and nep-hpe
Date: 2003-09-25
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Forthcoming in Journal of Economics.

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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0106

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