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2 pages/≈550 words
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Mathematics & Economics
English (U.S.)
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Root Causes by Daron Acemoglu (Essay Sample)


Daron’s Acemoglu’s “Root Causes” provides an overview of his influential research with James Robinson and Simon Johnson on the causes of the huge gap in living standards and levels of development between rich and poor countries. In this short writing assignment, I would like you to provide a summary of their argument. In your essay, please be sure to address the following questions: 1. What are the alternative candidates to explain differences in prosperity between countries? 2. What are the characteristics of good institutions? 3. Why are institutions persistent and often unchanging? 4. What is the “natural experiment” that Acemoglu et. al. exploit? How does this help “identify” the role of institutions? 5. What are the potential policy implications of their analysis?


Root Causes
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Root Causes
There exists a huge gap in the living standards and development levels between poor and rich countries. Acemoglu, Johnson & Robinson (2001) provide an overview of the fundamental causes of the large disparities in per capita between different countries globally. Acemoglu’s ‘Root Causes” attempts to answer critical questions regarding the critical economic issues.
Acemoglu observes that there are two critical candidates determine the differences of wealth and prosperity between nations. The two hypothesis examined by Acemoglu are geography and institutions (Acemoglu, 2003, p.27). In his institution hypothesis examination, Acemoglu concludes that human influences are the most crucial in determining wealth between nations. Through human influences, institutions are developed which contribute to the development or under-development of countries. Management of institutions determines whether a country becomes poor or rich.
Good institutions often drive their countries to economic prosperity. Acemoglu provides key characteristics possessed by good institutions. These include the following. First, good institutions enforce the property rights for a broad cross section of the society thus motivating them to make investments in their economy thus contributing to economic growth. Secondly, good institutions have power to limit the actions of elites, politicians and other powerful groups thus protecting the population from exploitation and ensuring that the incomes and investments of the citizens are well protected. Lastly, Acemoglu observes that good institutions offer equal opportunities to the citizens allowi

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