Institutions and U.S. Regional Development: A Study of Massachusetts and Virginia
The development of the American economy was accompanied by significant spatial income inequalities between the northern and southern regions. While many factors contributed to northern industrialization and southern stagnation, an important factor was differences in their institutions. In the North, a democratic institution fostered growth whereas in the South, an oligarchic institution favored status quo. To gain some insights on the nature and causes of the divergence of these institutions, this paper examines the development of political and legal institutions in Massachusetts and Virginia, the two leading states in the North and the South.
I am grateful to Kenneth Sokoloff and Douglass North for the many illuminating conversations which led to this project. I thank David Konig for his helpful advice on U.S. colonial legal history and participants at a conference hosted by the St. Louis Initiative, CNISS and an urban conference at UBC hosted by Bob Helsely for their comments. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Kim, Sukkoo, 2009. "Institutions and US regional development: a study of Massachusetts and Virginia," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(02), pages 181-205, August.