Economic Geography, Political Inequality, and Public Goods in the Original 13 US States

50 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2018

See all articles by Pablo Beramendi

Pablo Beramendi

Duke University - Department of Political Science

Jeffrey L. Jensen

New York University (NYU) - New York University Abu Dhabi

Date Written: August 18, 2018

Abstract

A large and fruitful literature has focused on the impact of colonial legacies on long-term development. Yet the mechanisms through which these legacies get transmitted over time remain ambiguous. This paper analyzes the choice and effects of legislative representation as one such mechanism, driven by elites interested in maximizing jointly economic prospects and political influence over time. We focus on malapportionment in the legislatures of the original thirteen British North-American colonies. Their joint independence created a unique juncture in which postcolonial elites simultaneously chose the legislative and electoral institutions under which they would operate. We show that the initial choice of apportionment in the state legislatures is largely a function of economic geography, that such a choice generated persistent differences in representation patterns within states (political inequality), and that the latter shaped public goods provision in the long run.

Keywords: democratization, institutions, historical legacies

JEL Classification: D72, D78, N41

Suggested Citation

Beramendi, Pablo and Jensen, Jeffrey, Economic Geography, Political Inequality, and Public Goods in the Original 13 US States (August 18, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3252921 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3252921

Pablo Beramendi (Contact Author)

Duke University - Department of Political Science ( email )

140 Science Drive (Gross Hall), 2nd floor
Duke University Mailcode: 90204
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

Jeffrey Jensen

New York University (NYU) - New York University Abu Dhabi ( email )

PO Box 129188
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

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