Economic Institutions and Comparative Economic Development: A Post-Colonial Perspective
(with Hugo Faria, James Gwartney & Daniel Morales).
Abstract: Existing literature suggests that either colonial settlement conditions or the identity of colonizer were influential in shaping the post-colonial institutional environment, which in turn has impacted long-run economic development, but has treated the two potential identification strategies as substitutes. We argue that the two factors should instead be treated as complementary and develop an alternative and unified IV approach that simultaneously accounts for both settlement conditions and colonizer identity to estimate the potential causal impact of a broad cluster of economic institutions on log real GDP per capita for a sample of former colonies. Using population density in 1500 as a proxy for settlement conditions, we find that the impact of settlement conditions on institutional development is much stronger among former British colonies than colonies of the other major European colonizers. Conditioning on several geographic factors and ethno-linguistic fractionalization, our baseline 2SLS estimates suggest that a standard deviation increase in economic institutions is associated with a three-fourths standard deviations increase in economic development. Our results are robust to a number of additional control variables, country subsample exclusions, and alternative measures of institutions, GDP, and colonizer classifications. We also find evidence that geography exerts both an indirect and direct effect on economic development.
Evidence on Economic Versus Political Institutions as Determinants of Development
(with Hugo Faria, James Gwartney, Hugo Montesinos, Daniel Morales & Carlos Navarro).
Abstract: A growing body of evidence suggests that institutions are an important determinant of economic development, yet there remains debate over which institutions are most important. We employ an identification strategy that allows us to simultaneously examine the potential causal impact of economic and political institutions. The results strongly suggest that economic institutions are an
economically and statistically significant determinant of income per capita, but political institutions do not exert a discernible statistical impact on development.
These findings are robust to alternative sets of covariates, data sources, instrumental variable estimators, and a test that provides for valid inferences under near exogeneity. Download.
Economic Freedom and Emotional Well-Being (with Boris Nikolaev).
Abstract: We explore the relationship between emotional well-being and economic freedom. Using data for a sample of 12 countries from wave 2 of the World Value Survey (WVS) and the Economic
Freedom of the World (EFW) index, we find that people living in more economically free societies are more likely to report the presence of positive affect and absence of negative affect. Specifically, people who live in countries with greater economic freedom are more likely to report feeling excited, accomplished, and on the top of the world. At the same time, they are less likely to report feeling pride, restlessness, loneliness, boredom, and being upset. These results are consistent with previous studies that find a positive association between economic freedom and life satisfaction. Download.
Homeschooling, Time Use, and Academic Performance at a Private Religious College.
Site under construction...more papers coming soon. In the meantime, please visit my ResearchGate page.