Journal of Bioeconomics

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 227–242 | Cite as

The deep roots of economic development in the U.S. states: an application of Putterman and Weil (2010)

  • Ryan H. MurphyEmail author
  • Alex Nowrasteh


The “Deep Roots” literature investigates the effects of ancient cultural variables on economic outcomes. We extend Putterman and Weil’s (Q J Econ 125(4):1627–1682, 2010) inquiry into the effects of State History and Agricultural History to the economic output in ethnically and racially diverse fifty U.S. States. The ethnic and racial differences across the populations of the fifty U.S. states vary considerably due to historical immigration and slave flows that, as a result, produced radically different State History and Agricultural History scores across the states. Results derived from Putterman and Weil’s methodology do not robustly predict per capita levels of economic output across U.S. States. We also investigate the institutions channel, and find that they impact some measures of institutions, but they do not impact the quality of economic institutions which may be essential for promoting economic growth and development.


Deep roots State history Agricultural history Institutions Economics of migration 

JEL Classification

O15 O43 Z13 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Southern Methodist UniversityDallasUSA
  2. 2.Cato InstituteWashingtonUSA

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