NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutional Change and Economic Growth

Daron Acemoglu, Simon Johnson, James Robinson

NBER Working Paper No. 9378
Issued in December 2002
NBER Program(s):   EFG   ITI

This paper documents that the Rise of (Western) Europe between 1500 and 1850 is largely accounted for by the growth of European nations with access to the Atlantic, and especially by those nations that engaged in colonialism and long distance oceanic trade. Moreover, Atlantic ports grew much faster than other West European cities, including Mediterranean ports. Atlantic trade and colonialism affected Europe both directly, and indirectly by inducing institutional changes. In particular, the growth of New World, African, and Asian trade after 1500 strengthened new segments of the commercial bourgeoisie, and enabled these groups to demand, obtain, and sustain changes in institutions to protect their property rights. Furthermore, the most significant institutional changes and consequently the most substantial economic gains occurred in nations where existing institutions placed some checks on the monarchy and particularly limited its control of overseas trading activities, thus enabling new merchants in these countries to benefit from Atlantic trade. Therefore, the Rise of Europe was largely the result of capitalist development driven by the interaction of late medieval institutions and the economic opportunities offered by Atlantic trade.'

download in pdf format
   (1157 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (1157 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w9378

Published: Acemoglu, Daron, Simon Johnson and James Robinson. "The Rise Of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutional Change, And Economic Growth," American Economic Review, 2005, v95(2,May), 546-579. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Obstfeld and Taylor w8846 Globalization and Capital Markets
Tirole Privatization in Eastern Europe: Incentives and the Economics of Transition
Clark, O'Rourke, and Taylor w14077 Made in America? The New World, the Old, and the Industrial Revolution
Rodriguez and Rodrik Trade Policy and Economic Growth: A Skeptic's Guide to the Cross-National Evidence
Estevadeordal, Frantz, and Taylor w9318 The Rise and Fall of World Trade, 1870-1939
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us