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.
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