The Quest for Development: What role does history play?


Areendam Chanda & Louis Putterman

Published: June 2004


It may be no coincidence that those countries that grew most rapidly in the late twentieth century—including South Korea, China, and, of late, India—were relatively developed civilizations when Western Europe began its overseas expansion five centuries ago. In this article the authors explore the literature showing that institutions matter to growth, then examine new evidence that the ‘social capability’ to achieve growth is a function of capacities that go beyond the formal education system. Remarkably, a long history of nationhood at the time of Columbus means better odds of growth today.



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