Betsey Stevenson, Justin Wolfers, 04 August 2008

Surveys that have attempted to measure the level of happiness in US citizens by means of a subjective response have unveiled decreases in happiness inequality. The authors of CEPR DP6929 have used these responses to analyse the level and dispersion of happiness within and between demographic groups over the period of 1972-2006.

Thorvaldur Gylfason, Eduard Hochreiter, 02 August 2008

The development gap between former Soviet states is striking – top performers like Estonia have joined the European Union while others, such as Georgia, lag far behind. What accounts for these differences? In the case of Estonia, this column attributes them to successful institutional reforms, good governance, and investments in education.

Raphael Auer, 26 July 2008

Why are some economies rich and others poor? The economics profession is divided between rival schools of thought that emphasise geography or institutions. This column assesses the relative importance of each using the interaction of history and geography. The answer raises major policy implications.

Maarten Bosker, Eltjo Buringh, Jan Luiten van Zanden, 28 June 2008

Baghdad was a wonder of the world in the year 800 while London was an economic backwater. By 1800, London was the largest city in the world while Arab cities languished. Recent research attributes this ‘trading places’ to institutional differences: Arab cities were tied to the fate of the state while European cities were independent growth poles.

Kris Mitchener, 11 April 2008

Institutions play a central role in determining trade flows. Evidence from the age of high imperialism suggests that political relationships can be as powerful at dictating trade flows as geography and other institutional factors, such as currency unions or widespread fixed-exchange rate regimes like the gold standard.

Guido Tabellini, 04 December 2007

Individuals' morality is a key mechanism through which distant political and economic history shapes the functioning of current institutions.

Liam Brunt, 25 September 2007

Historical evidence from a natural experiment in South Africa suggests that changing particular institutions is really only tinkering at the economic margins. Establishing clear property rights, by contrast, facilitates almost all economic interactions and unleashes the full potential of the economy. Several developing economies – such as Vietnam and China – have recently been moving down this road, and history suggests that the economic gains are likely to be large.

Benjamin Jones, Benjamin Olken, 13 May 2007

Assassinations, and attempted assassinations, have occurred throughout history and are a persistent feature of the political landscape. In fact, a national leader has been assassinated in nearly two out of every three years since 1950.

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