Alternative Variables for Geography and Institutional Structure: European Colonies and an Evaluation of sub-Saharan African Countries

  • Salih Barisik Faculty of Economics and Administrive Sciences, Tokat Gaziosmanpaşa University, Turkey
  • Kubilay Ergen Faculty of Economics and Administrive Sciences, Tokat Gaziosmanpaşa University, Turkey
Keywords: economic development, malaria index, sub-Saharan Africa, geography, institutional structure


To explain the main reasons for the differences in economic development among countries, in the main model of this study, we use the malaria index as an instrumental variable to describe the sub-Saharan African countries. In addition, we use the indigenous population density in 1500 and the settler mortality rate as substitutes for each other in different model identifications to demonstrate the settlement conditions in the former European colonial countries, and we use the identity of colonizers to explain today's institutional performance. According to the main model, where we use the two-stage least squares method, the geography of sub-Saharan Africa and institutional structure determine the differences in economic development significantly. In both cases, the coefficients of these variables remain statistically significant, despite minor changes. In addition, estimates of coefficients are the most unbiased estimators among studies using a similar sample. The results of the main model also remained unchanged despite the alternative measures of institutional structure and geography.


Download data is not yet available.


Acemoglu, D., Johnson, S., & Robinson, J. (2001). The colonial origins of comparative development: An empirical investigation. American Economic Review, 91(5), 1369-1401.

Acemoglu, D., Johnson, S., & Robinson, J. (2002). Reversal of fortune: Geography and institutions in the making of the modern world income distribution. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 117(4), 1231-1294.

Acemoglu, D., Johnson, S., & Robinson, J. (2005). A response to Albouy’s “A reexamination based on improved mortality data”. Unpublished Manuscript.

Albouy, D. Y. (2012). The colonial origins of comparative development: An investigation of the settler mortality data. American Economic Review, 102(6), 3059–3076

Auer, R. A. (2013). Geography, institutions, and the making of comparative development. Journal of Economic Growth, 18(2), 179-215.

Barro, R. J. (1991). Economic growth in a cross section of countries. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 106(2), 407-443.

Bednar, J., & Page, S. E. (2018). When order affects performance: Culture, behavioral spillovers, and institutional path dependence. American Political Science Review, 112(1), 82-98.

Béguin, A., Hales, S., Rocklöv, J., Åström, C., Louis, V. R., & Sauerborn, R. (2011). The opposing effects of climate change and socio-economic development on the global distribution of malaria. Global Environmental Change, 21(4), 1209-1214.

Bennett, D. L., Faria, H. J., Gwartney, J. D., & Morales, D. R. (2017 ). Economic institutions and comparative economic development: A post-colonial perspective. World Development, 96, 503-519.

Bertocchi, G., & Canova, F. (2002). Did colonization matter for growth?: An empirical exploration into the historical causes of Africa's underdevelopment. European economic review, 46(10), 1851-1871.

Chong, A., & Calderon, C. (2000). Causality and feedback between institutional measures and economic growth. Economics & Politics, 12(1), 69-81.

Diamond, J. (1998). Guns, germs, and steel. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Efendic, A., Pugh, G., & Adnett, N. (2011). Institutions and economic performance: A meta-regression analysis. European Journal of Political Economy, 27(3), 586-599.

Ertan, A., Fiszbein, M., & Putterman, L. (2016). Who was colonized and when? A cross-country analysis of determinants. European Economic Review, 83, 165-184.

Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc. (ESRI). ( 2017). Atlas GIS Surveying & IT. Retrieved from

Fraser Institute. (2017). 2014 Index of economic freedom. Retrieved from

Gallup, J. L., & Sachs, J. D. (2001). The economic burden of malaria. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 64(1), 85-96.

Gallup, J. L., Sachs, J. D., & Mellinger, A. D. (1999). Geography and economic development. International Regional Science Review, 22(2), 179-232.

Gillis, M., Perkins, D. H., Roemer, M., & Snodgrass, D.R. (1992). Economics of development. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Hall, R. E., & Jones, C. I. (1999). Why do some countries produce so much more output per worker than others? The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 114(1), 83-116.

Han, E., & Kaya, A. A. (2013). Economics of development: Theory and policy (8th ed.). Ankara: Nobel Academic.

Heckman, J. J., & Robb, R. (1986). Alternative methods for solving the problem of selection bias in evaluating the impact of treatments on outcomes. In H. Wainer (Ed.), Drawing inferences from self-selected samples (p. 63–107). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

Khaldun, I. (2013). The Muqaddimah (S. Uludag, Trans.). Istanbul: Dergâh. (Original work published 1402)

Kiszewski, A., Mellinger, A., Spielman, A., Malaney, P., Sachs, S. E., & Sachs, J. (2004). A global index representing the stability of malaria transmission. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 70(5), 486-498.

Klerman, D. M., Mahoney, P. G., Spamann, H., & Weinstein, M. I. (2011). Legal origin or colonial history? Journal of Legal Analysis, 3(2), 379-409.

Knack, S., & Keefer, P. (1995). Institutions and economic performance: Cross-country tests using alternative institutional measures. Economics & Politics, 7(3), 207-227.

La Porta, R., Lopez-de-Silanes, F., Shleifer, A., & Vishny, R. (1999). The quality of government. The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, 15(1), 222-279.

Law, S. H., Lim, T. C., & Ismail, N. W. (2013). Institutions and economic development: A Granger causality analysis of panel data evidence. Economic Systems, 37(4), 610-624.

Lee, A., & Schultz, K. A. (2012). Comparing British and French colonial legacies: A discontinuity analysis of Cameroon. Quarterly Journal of Political Science, 7(4), 365-410

Manski, C. F., & Pepper, J. V. (2000). Monotone instrumental variables with an application to the returns to schooling. Econometrica, 68(4), 997-1010.

Masters, W. A., & McMillan, M. S. (2001). Climate and scale in economic growth. Journal of Economic Growth, 6(3), 167-186.

Malthus, T. R. (1872). An essay on the principle of population. Istanbul: Gece.

Michelman, F. (1995). French and British colonial language policies: A comparative view of their impact on African literature. Research in African Literatures, 26(4), 216.

Montesquieu, C. (1989). Montesquieu: The spirit of the laws. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

North, D. C. (1981). Structure and change in economic history. New York: Norton and Company.

North, D. C. (1991). Institutions, institutional change, and economic performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Okuneye, K., & Gumel, A. B. (2017). Analysis of a temperature-and rainfall-dependent model for malaria transmission dynamics. Mathematical Biosciences, 287, 72-92.

Ricardo, D. (1955). Biographical miscellany. In P. Sraffa (Ed.), The works and correspondence of David Ricardo, Volume 10. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rodrik, D., Subramanian, A., & Trebbi, F. (2004). Institutions rule: The primacy of institutions over integration and geography in economic development. Journal of Economic Growth, 9(2), 131-165.

Sachs, J. D., & Warner, A. M. (1997). Sources of slow growth in African economies. Journal of African Economies, 6(3), 335-376.

Schumpeter, J. (2010). Capitalism, socialism and democracy [1942] (3rd ed.). New York: Harper Perennial Modern Thought.

Skaaning, S. E. (2010). Measuring the Rule of Law. Political Research Quarterly, 63(2), 449-460.

Smith, A. (2016). The Wealth of Nations [1776]. Istanbul: Karbon.

United Nations Economic and Social Council. (2017). Members. Retrieved from

Wolfe, N. D., Dunavan, C. P., & Diamond, J. (2007). Origins of major human infectious diseases. Nature, 447, 279–283.

World Bank. (2017a). World governance indicators. Retrieved from

World Bank. (2017b). World development indicators. Retrieved from

World Health Organization. (2017). World malaria report 2016. Retrieved from

How to Cite
Barisik, S., & Ergen, K. (2020). Alternative Variables for Geography and Institutional Structure: European Colonies and an Evaluation of sub-Saharan African Countries . pplied conomics ournal, 27(1), 75-101. etrieved from
Research Articles