The Role of Historical Malaria in Institutions and Contemporary Economic Development
MetadataShow full item record
This research examines the causal impact of institutional quality on economic development from a novel perspective. At the country level, we exploit variation in the malaria prevalence in 1900, just before vector-control methods were developed, to instrument for institutional quality using a two-stage least squares instrumental variables framework. Our instrument is a population-weighted average of malaria endemicity estimates for the year 1900 developed by the WHO in the 1960s. We argue that this measure of historical malaria offers more expansive geographic information about the disease environment than other metrics, and our baseline IV estimates reveal that greater institutional quality causes greater contemporaneous economic growth. Next, we investigate the robustness of these baseline results to alternative explanations, including the role of geography and early colonizers’ experiences, as the causal link between the early disease environmental, institutional quality and contemporary growth. As an additional test of the explanatory power of malaria endemicity, we replace our instrument for settler mortality and replicate the core results from the seminal study on the colonial origins of comparative development by Acemoglu et al. (2001). In summary, we propose that malaria endemicity, estimated for 1900, holistically explains the legacy of early disease on institutional quality development and contemporary economic development.
DRMI Working Paper Series
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
"Unpacking and rearranging the boxes": the search for a new institutional matrix of democratic control of the military in Botswana Thaga, Laki Steven (Monterey California. Naval Postgraduate School, 2004-03);Botswana has been hailed as a "model of success", an "African Miracle" and a "rare bird in Africa" because of its economic prosperity record and democratic achievements in a region of sharp contrasts. A well-developed ...
Kotchegura, Alexander; Jones, L.R. (2011);The roles and functions of the state in contemporary societies, cultures and economies have expanded to respond to numerous present-day challenges including that of coping with fiscal stress, economic recession and ...
Hanson, Jonathan K.; Sigman, Rachel (Naval Postgraduate School, 2019-08);In what types of institutional environments are international development projects most likely to succeed? Previous research suggests alternatively that liberal economic policies, democratic political institutions, and ...