NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Maria A. Bautista

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June 2007Economic and Political Inequality in Development: The Case of Cundinamarca, Colombia
with Daron Acemoglu, Pablo QuerubĂ­n, James A. Robinson: w13208
Is inequality harmful for economic growth? Is the underdevelopment of Latin America related to its unequal distribution of wealth? A recently emerging consensus claims not only that economic inequality has detrimental effects on economic growth in general, but also that differences in economic inequality across the American continent during the 19th century are responsible for the radically different economic performances of the north and south of the continent. In this paper we investigate this hypothesis using unique 19th century micro data on land ownership and political office holding in the state of Cundinamarca, Colombia. Our results shed considerable doubt on this consensus. Even though Cundinamarca is indeed more unequal than the Northern United States at the time, within Cundi...

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