Pre-colonial institutions and socioeconomic development: The case of Latin America

Luis Angeles*, Aldo Elizalde

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


We study the effects of pre-colonial institutions on present-day socioeconomic outcomes for Latin America. Our thesis is that more advanced pre-colonial institutions relate to better socioeconomic outcomes today. We advance that pre-colonial institutions survived to our days thanks to the existence of largely self-governed Amerindian communities in rural Latin America. Amerindians groups with more advanced institutional capacity would have been able to organize and defend their interests in front of national governments; leading to better development outcomes for themselves and for the population at large. We test our thesis with a dataset of 324 sub-national administrative units covering all mainland Latin American countries. Our extensive range of controls covers factors such as climate, location, natural resources, colonial activities and pre-colonial characteristics – plus country fixed effects. Results strongly support our thesis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-40
JournalJournal of Development Economics
Early online date27 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Pre-colonial institutions and socioeconomic development: The case of Latin America'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this