Government, Geography, and Growth: The True Drivers of Economic Development by Jeffrey Sachs in Foreign Affairs
This tale sounds good, but it is simplistic. Although domestic politics can encourage or impede economic growth, so can many other factors, such as geopolitics, technological discoveries, and natural resources, to name a few. In their single-minded quest to prove that political institutions are the prime driver or inhibitor of growth, Acemoglu and Robinson systematically ignore these other causes.
Second, we never said that geography is irrelevant — how would one otherwise explain why there aren’t holiday resorts in Antarctica? We argued and demonstrated that the geography hypothesis, which links the huge cross-country differences in prosperity to geography is wrong and unhelpful…
Reply to Acemoglu and Robinson’s Response to My Book Review by Jeffrey Sachs
Politics can be important for some kinds of comparisons (particularly between next-door neighbors, where geography is similar and therefore can be “held constant” in the comparison), but might also explain little of the differences between countries situated in very divergent geographical conditions.
Why ‘Why Nations Fail’ Fails (Mostly) by Duncan Green
(And of course) What Bill Gates Got Wrong About Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu & James Robinson