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GeoPopulation-Institution Hypothesis: Reconciling American Development Process and Reversal of Fortune within a Unified Growth Framework

Ho, Chi Pui (2016): GeoPopulation-Institution Hypothesis: Reconciling American Development Process and Reversal of Fortune within a Unified Growth Framework.

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Abstract

We develop a unified growth theory for the Western Hemisphere during the colonization era. We posit a unified growth model with transatlantic migration and slavery trade to reconcile development in the Thirteen Colonies/United States during AD1700-AD1860. Then we apply the model across American regions/countries, and propose the GeoPopulation-Institution hypothesis to explain divergence: whenever its geographic or political environments relatively favored the buildup of Black slaves (or non-White forced labor), through slavery institution that disincentivized the Blacks to make improvements, a region/country was likely to suffer a reversal of fortune. Geography, population and institution are inseparable in understanding American economic history.

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