NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Tropics, Germs, and Crops: How Endowments Influence Economic Development

William Easterly, Ross Levine

NBER Working Paper No. 9106
Issued in August 2002
NBER Program(s):   EFG   IFM

Does economic development depend on geographic endowments like temperate instead of tropical location, the ecological conditions shaping diseases, or an environment good for grains or certain cash crops? Or do these endowments of tropics, germs, and crops affect economic development only through institutions or policies? We test the endowment, institution, and policy views against each other using cross country evidence. We find evidence that tropics, germs, and crops affect development through institutions. We find no evidence that tropics, germs, and crops affect country incomes directly other than through institutions, nor do we find any effect of policies on development once we control for institutions.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w9106

Published: Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 2003. "Tropics, germs, and crops: how endowments influence economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 3-39, January.

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