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North and South

Thefirst two reading selections for Economics 344 make some notable observations about the growth and development of budding economies.In Engerman and Sokoloff's chapter entitled "Factor Endowments, Institutions, and Differential Paths of Growth Among New World Economies," the authors compare the economic growth levels of the North American colonies to those of Latin American colonies.Then, in "Tracking the Economic Divergence of the North and the South," Peter Coclanis notes the different economic paths taken by these two distinct regions of the United States.Overall, these two essays are similar in nature – they make similar comparisons across two regions using similar criteria.The readings, however, differ drastically in their subject matter and in the scope of the comparisons.
In thefirst reading, Stanley Engerman and Kenneth Sokoloff attempt to explain what factors contributed to the different levels of economic development between the North American colonies and the Latin American colonies.They hypothesize that the United States and Canada were able to sustain economic growth due to factor endowments that were superior to those of Central and South America.Endowments such as climate, soil, and density of the native population, they say, predisposed certain colonies to accomplishing economic growth.Institutions and government policies such as land policies and trade regulations were also significant determining factors, but less so than factor endowments.After comparing the prosperous colonies to the less prosperous, the authors then briefly state differences within the United States colonies as far as economic growth is concerned.Numerous differences in the economic patterns of the North and the South are pointed out – indeed, in many ways the South resembled those colonies that became less successful.Despite these distinctions, in the end, the authors conclude tha…

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