Colonial States and Economic Development in Spanish America

  • James Mahoney
  • Matthias vom Hau
Part of the Political Evolution and Institutional Change book series (PEIC)


Recent research on Latin America argues that Spanish colonialism caused a reversal of development trajectories in the region (Mahoney 2003; see also Acemoglu, Johnson, and Robinson 2001, 2002; Engerman and Sokolof f 2002). During the late colonial and the early postindependence periods—roughly between 1750 and 1850—the wealthy colonial centers tended to fall behind and turned into the least economically prosperous areas in Spanish America. By contrast, poor colonial backwaters of ten experienced impressive growth and became the wealthiest territories. To a large extent, the regional development hierarchy established during this critical historical epoch is still found today.


Minimal State Colonial Period Local Elite Colonial State Spanish Colonial 
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Copyright information

© Matthew Lange and Dietrich Rueschemeyer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Mahoney
  • Matthias vom Hau

There are no affiliations available

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