Week 4 - History and Institutions


Societies have faced differences in prosperity throughout history. Are these differences persistent? Is the contemporary distribution of prosperity inherited from the past? Which mechanisms could explain such persistence? What the forces opposing to the persistence?  How can institutions foster/stop development?



- Chapters 1 to 6 (pp:7-181) in Acemoglu, Daron and James A. Robinson (2012), Why Nations Fail, Profile Books
- Chapter 2 in Deaton (2013), The Great Escape, PUP
- Chapter 10 "Policies, Politics" in Banerjee, Abhijit V., and Esther Duflo (2011), Poor Economics, Penguin Books
- Introduction in The long economic and political shadow of History, vol. 1, VoxEU, Michalopoulos and Papioannou (eds.)


- Chattopadhyay and Duflo (2004), "Women as policy makers: Evidence from a randomized policy experiment in India" Econometrica
- Engerman, Stanley L. and Kenneth L. Sokoloff (2000), "Institutions, Factor Endowments, and Paths of Development in the New World." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 14(3): 217-23
- Glaeser, Edward L, Rafael LaPorta, Florencio López-de-Silanes, and Andrei Shleifer. 2004. “Do Institutions Cause Growth?.” Journal of Economic Growth 9 (3): 271-303.
- Michalopoulos, Stelios, and Elias Papaioannou (2014), "National Institutions and Subnational Development in Africa", The Quarterrly Journal of Economics, 129 (1): 151-213
Nunn, Nathan (2009), "The Importance of History for Economic Development", Annual Review of Economics: 1-65


assignment 1

“Institutional development, rather than the accumulation of capital, is the source of economic development.”  Do you agree?  Discuss, with reference both to the theoretical  arguments  put  forward  by  Acemoglu,  Robinson  and  others,  and  any  empirical evidence

Assignment 2

"Only institutions can explain the persistence of development inequalities over time." Discuss

Assignment 3

Write a report on Michalopoulos and Papaionnou's paper "National Institutions and Subnational Development in Africa".

This report should include:
- A summary of the reading
- An overview of the general literature and questions upon which the article is based
- A personal discussion of the paper, based on your readings and personal understanding of the subject