Journal of Economic Growth

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 355–378

Geography and Poverty Traps


  • David E. Bloom
    • Harvard School of Public Health
  • David Canning
    • Harvard School of Public Health
  • Jaypee Sevilla
    • Harvard School of Public Health

DOI: 10.1023/A:1026294316581

Cite this article as:
Bloom, D.E., Canning, D. & Sevilla, J. Journal of Economic Growth (2003) 8: 355. doi:10.1023/A:1026294316581


We test the view that the large differences in income levels we see across the world are due to differences in the intrinsic geography of each country against the alternative view that there are poverty traps. We reject simple geographic determinism in favor of a poverty trap model with high- and low-level equilibria. The high-level equilibrium state is found to be the same for all countries while income in the low-level equilibrium, and the probability of being in the high-level equilibrium, are greater in cool, coastal countries with high, year-round, rainfall.

multiple equilibriaconvergence clubs

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003