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Geographic and Political Determinants of Economic Development


The economic performance of countries is subject to many influences. This research agenda attempts to focus on two dimensions of obvious interest:

  • The geographic dimension, broadly understood (location, climate, resource abundance, characteristics of surrounding neighbors, distance to world markets, etc.), which affects, for example, specialization patterns and thereby conditions the long-run performance of countries.
  • The political/institutional dimension, which establishes to a great extent the “rules of the game” (stability of property rights, bargaining power of different groups, effectiveness in the solution of public goods provision, etc.) in which economic activity takes place, thus affecting the development paths of countries.

Our research aims to have a better understanding as to how geographic and political/institutional forces affect the economic development of countries. We focus on these two dimensions separately, but also consider their interactions (e.g., the effects of geography might depend on the institutional setup in place) as well as the feedback processes that arise over time (e.g., economic performance affects the correlation of political forces and may thereby change the institutional setup of a country). Of particular interest will be the consideration of “historical accidents” leading to exogenous changes in the geography (e.g., discovery of natural resources, redefinition of borders) and the institutions (e.g. colonial influence) of countries.


Contact: Alejandro Cuñat

Institut für
Internationale Entwicklung
Universität Wien

Sensengasse 3/2/2
A-1090 Wien

Öffnungszeiten Büro IE
Di, Mi: 10 bis 12 Uhr
Do: 14 bis 17 Uhr

Di, Mi: 10 bis 12 Uhr
Do: 14 bis 16 Uhr

Elke Christiansen:
+43-1-4277-239 02

Markus Gatschnegg

Daniel Görgl: (derzeit karenziert)
+43-1-4277-451 28

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