CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Geography is not Destiny and History need not Repeat: Don Leonard

October 3rd, 2014
2:00pm

Location
Norman Mayer 125A

The first talk of the Tulane University Political Science Seminar takes place on Friday, October 3rd in Norman Mayer 125A. The speaker will be Don Leonard (CIPR Post-Doctoral Fellow) who will present a paper entitled “Geography is not Destiny and History need not Repeat: Trade Politics and State Development in Latin America.”

Why are some societies more prosperous than others? Geographic endowments have been found to shape the development trajectories of nations directly, as well as indirectly through their effect on the quality of the political institutions that emerge during colonization. In these latter accounts, stability in the underlying distribution of income within a society accounts for the persistence of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ institutions by determining who has the power to shape the economic purpose of the state. In contrast, comparative historical analysis of state development on the island of Hispaniola identifies conditions under which exogenous changes in exposure to international trade can alter the development trajectories of societies by reshaping the distribution of income and power within them, as well as the preferences of the powerful over institutional purpose. These findings challenge existing theories of state development that emphasize the path-dependent effects of geography and colonial legacy.

For a draft of Dr. Leonard’s paper, please click here.

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