Institutional Development and Colonial Heritage within Brazil

51 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2009

See all articles by Joana Naritomi

Joana Naritomi

World Bank; Harvard University

Rodrigo R. Soares

Columbia University - School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA); Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) - Sao Paulo School of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Juliano J. Assunção

Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) - Department of Economics

Abstract

This paper analyzes the determinants of local institutions and distribution of political power within a constant 'macro-institutional' setting. We show that characteristics of Brazilian municipalities related to institutional quality and distribution of political power are partly inherited from the colonial histories experienced by different areas of the country. Municipalities with origins tracing back to the sugar-cane colonial cycle – characterized by a polarized and oligarchic socioeconomic structure – display today more inequality in the distribution of endowments (land). Municipalities with origins tracing back to the gold colonial cycle – characterized by a heavily inefficient presence of the Portuguese state – display today worse governance practices and less access to justice. The colonial rent-seeking episodes are also correlated with lower provision of public goods and lower income per capita.

Keywords: institutions, colonial heritage, rent-seeking, geography, Brazil

JEL Classification: N26, O17, O40

Suggested Citation

Naritomi, Joana and Soares, Rodrigo R. and Assunção, Juliano J., Institutional Development and Colonial Heritage within Brazil. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4276, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1434610

Joana Naritomi (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

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Harvard University

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Rodrigo R. Soares

Columbia University - School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA) ( email )

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New York, NY 10027
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Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) - Sao Paulo School of Economics ( email )

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Juliano J. Assunção

Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) - Department of Economics ( email )

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Rio de Janeiro, RJ 22453
Brazil

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