Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Discussion Paper Series in Economics,
Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics

No 13/2016: Further Unbundling Institutions

Elias Braunfels ()
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Elias Braunfels: Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Postal: NHH , Department of Economics, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway

Abstract: This paper analyzes the effects of institutions on economic development, and focuses on separating political institutions from contracting and economic institutions. For a sample of former European colonies, I find that differences in income levels are strongly a ected by political institutions, which regulate political accountability and constrain political elites. There is some evidence for a positive e ect of economic institutions, which protect property rights, but no evidence for positive e ects of contracting institutions, which facilitate contracting among individuals. A decomposition of GDP reveals that political institutions work through the channel of physical and human Capital accumulation. Economic institutions have a positive impact on total factor productivity. To identify and unbundle effects, I exploit exogenous variation in each of the three institutions using instrumental variables based on Colonial history and geographic endowments. The application of a recently developed test for weak instruments in the multiple endogenous variables setting shows that the e ects of institutions can be separated. The paper adds to the literature by identifying the fundamental importance of political institutions for economic development, and provides an inside into the channels through which speci c institutions a ect income levels.

Keywords: Institutions; Economic Development; Political Economy; Property Rights; Checks and Balances

JEL-codes: E02; O11; O17; O43

51 pages, September 19, 2016

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