Discussion paper

DP16256 Pillars of Prosperity: A Ten-Year Update

This paper provides an overview of a ten-year update of the empirical claims in Besley and Persson's (2011) `Pillars of Prosperity: The Political Economics of Development Clusters'. In addition to assembling a new dataset that covers many of the themes in the book, we recreate almost all charts and tables with better data for a cross-section ten years later. New data further permitted the collection of additional variables relevant to the emerging literature in political economy on norms and values, in addition to measuring `collective capacity' as our third dimension of state capacity. We also make comparisons of state effectiveness over time, using the panel structure of the dataset, and perform extensions that empirically identify state spaces and development clusters via unsupervised statistical learning techniques.


Besley, T, C Dann and T Persson (2021), ‘DP16256 Pillars of Prosperity: A Ten-Year Update‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 16256. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp16256