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Home > Catalogue > Economic Development in the Americas since 1500
Economic Development in the Americas since 1500


  • 4 b/w illus. 60 tables
  • Page extent: 444 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.73 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 338.973
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: HC94 .E64 2012
  • LC Subject headings:
    • America--Economic conditions
    • Social institutions--America

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9781107009554)

  • Also available in Paperback
  • Published February 2012

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 (Stock level updated: 17:00 GMT, 30 November 2015)


This book brings together a number of previously published articles by Stanley L. Engerman and Kenneth L. Sokoloff. Its essays deal with differences in the rates of economic growth in Latin American and mainland North America, specifically the United States and Canada. It demonstrates how relative differences in growth over time are related to differences in the institutions that developed in different economies. This variation is driven by differences in major institutions – suffrage, education, tax policy, land and immigration policy, and banking and financial organizations. These factors, in turn, are all related to differences in endowments, climate and natural resources. Providing a comprehensive treatment of its topic, the essays have been revised to reflect new developments and research.

• Compares growth trends in the US and Latin America • Pays attention to the role of endowments and resources in influencing the political and economic structures of different economies • Provides a detailed analysis of suffrage, education, tax policy and the distribution of land as factors that influence economic development


Beginnings: memoirs by two of Ken Sokoloff's friends and teachers Claudia Goldin and Stanley L. Engerman; Acknowledgments; Seminar presentations; Sources of funding; List of tables; List of figures; Introduction; 1. Paths of development: an overview; 2. Factor endowments and institutions with Stephen Haber; 3. The role of institutions in shaping factor; 4. The evolution of suffrage institutions; 5. The evolution of schooling: 1800–1925 with Elisa V. Mariscal; 6. Inequality and the evolution of taxation Kenneth L. Sokoloff and Eric M. Zolt; 7. Land and immigration policies; 8. Politics and banking systems Stephen Haber; 9. Five hundred years of European colonization; 10. Institutional and non-institutional explanations; 11 Epilogue: institutions in political and economic development; Bibliography; Prior publications.


'This volume is both a magisterial and a profound reassessment of the role of institutions in the social, political, and economic evolution of the Americas from Columbian contact to the present. There is nothing in the literature that approaches the range and detail of the cross-country comparisons across the Americas offered by Engerman and Sokoloff and their coauthors. The broad conclusions have enormous implications for understanding the development paths of societies everywhere.' David Eltis, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of History, Emory University

'On the big question of why some countries are rich and others poor, I find myself coming back again and again to the argument at the heart of this book. Although Engerman and Sokoloff formulate it in simple terms, it is anything but simple. On the contrary, it opens up a wealth of deep ideas about the mechanisms elites use to sustain themselves in power and how these mechanisms then inhibit economic development.' Naomi R. Lamoreaux, Yale University

'The work of Engerman and Sokoloff is foundational to the literature on colonialism, institutions, and economic development and anyone interested in development or new institutional economics will need to read this book.' Tomas Nonnenmacher,


Claudia Goldin, Stanley L. Engerman, Stephen Haber, Elisa V. Mariscal, Kenneth L. Sokoloff, Eric M. Zolt

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