Main Article Content

Filippo Bonanno
Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain
Vol. 8 No. 2 (2019), Articles, pages 114-144
Submitted: Jan 29, 2019 Accepted: Sep 30, 2019 Published: Dec 16, 2019
Copyright How to Cite


This paper represents an attempt to reconcile some general intuitions provided by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson in the book “Why Nations Fail” with the case of the deep regional disparities in the economic performances observed within the “Western” European Union during the period 2001-2015. By adopting an approach to growth analysis based on binary response models, this paper quantifies the extent to which the quality of government institutions has shaped regional economic performances in the European Union throughout the period comprising the Great Recession. Empirical results show that: 1) The higher is the quality of institutions, the higher is the probability that a region with high income per capita will grow above the levels of the European Union as a whole. 2) The higher is the quality of institutions, the lower is the probability that a low-income region will grow below the levels of European Union as a whole. 3) The higher is the quality of institutions, the higher (lower) is the probability that any region, regardless of its income per capita, will outperform (underperform) the European Union as a whole. 4) The higher is the quality of Institutions, the lower is the probability that a region will “fail” to grow.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details


Acemoglu, D. & Robinson, J. A. (2012). Why Nations Fail. The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty. New York: Crown Business. Doi:

Acemoglu, D. & Robinson, J. (2008). The Role of Institutions in Growth and Development. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank On behalf of the Commission on Growth and Development. Working Paper No.10

Acemoglu, D., Johnson, S. & Robinson, J. A. (2005). Institutions as Fundamental Cause of Economic Growth. In Aghion, P. and Durlauf, S. (eds.) Handbook of Economic Growth 1A. Amsterdam: Elsevier B.V. Doi:

Acemoglu D., Johnson, S. & Robinson, J. A. (2005a). The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutional Change, and Economic Growth. NBER Working Paper No. 9378. Doi:

Aiginger, K.; Firgo, M. & Huber, P. (2013). What can the EMU’s Peripheral Countries Learn from Regional Growth? In Lacina, L., Rosmahel, P. & Rusek, A. (eds.) Political Economy of the Eurozone crisis. Reforms and their Limits. Mendel European Centre

Alonso, J. A. (2009). Colonisation, formal and informal institutions, and development. ICEI Working Paper No.13

Ascani, A; Crescenzi, R. & Iammarino, S. (2012). Regional Economic Development: A Review. Search Working Paper 1/03

Barro, R. J. (1996). Determinants of Economic Growth. A Cross-country Empirical Study. National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper N. 5698. Doi:

Barro, R. J. (1991). Economic Growth in a Cross-section of Countries. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 106 (2), 407-443. Doi:

Canton, E. & Solera, I. (2016). Greenfield Foreign Direct Investment and Structural Reforms in Europe: What Factors Determine Investments? European Commission, European Economy Discussion Paper No. 033

Charron, N., Dijkstra, L. & Lapuente, V. (2015). Mapping the Regional Divide in Europe: A Measure for Assessing Quality of Government in 206 European Regions. Social Indicators Research, 122 (2), 315-346. Doi:

Charron, N., Dijkstra, L. & Lapuente, V. (2012). Regional Governance Matters. A study on Regional Variation in Quality of Government in the EU. European Commission Working Paper No. 01/2012

Feldkircher, M. (2006). New Regional Economics in Central European Economies: the Future of Centrope. Oesterreichische Nationalbank Working Paper No.9

Greif, A. (1994). Cultural beliefs and the Organization of Society. Theoretical reflection on Collectivist and Individualist Societies. The Journal of Political Economy, 102 (5), 912-950. Doi:

Harris, R. (2008). Models of Regional Growth: Past, Present and Future. SERC Discussion Papers, SERCDP0002. Spatial Economics Research Centre (SERC), London School of Economics and Political Science.

Huggins, R, & Thompson, P. (2017). Introducing Regional Competitiveness and Development: Theories and Perspectives. In Huggins, R. & Thompson, P. (eds.) Handbook of Regions and Competitiveness: Contemporary Theories and Perspectives on Economic Development. Chaltam: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited. Doi:

Lee-Jones, K. (2018). Best practices in addressing police-related corruption. Transparency International

Lucas, J. R, (1988). On the Mechanics of Economic Development. Journal of Monetary Economics, 22, 3-42. Doi:

MacMullen, R. (1988). Corruption and the Decline of Rome. New Heaven: Yale University Press

Mankiw, G.; Romer, D. & Weil, D. (1992). A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 107 (5), 407-437. Doi:

Martin, R. & Sunley, P. (1998). Slow Convergence? The New Endogenous Growth Theory and Regional Development. Economic Geography, 74(3), 201-227. Doi:

Mauro, P. (2002). The Persistence of corruption and Slow Economic Growth. The International Monetary Fund. IMF Working Paper No.02/13. Doi:

Mauro, P. (1995). Corruption and Growth. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 110 (3), 681-712. Doi:

North, D.C. (1991). Institutions. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 5(1), 971-112. Doi:

Pons-Novell, J. & Viladecans-Marsal, E. (1998). Kaldor’s Law and Spatial Dependence: Evidence for the European Regions. Regional Studies, 33(5), 443-451. Doi:

Rodríguez-Pose, A., & Di Cataldo, M. (2014). Quality of government and innovative performance in the regions of Europe. Journal of Economic Geography, 15(4), 673-706. Doi:

Rodrik, D.; Subramianan, A. & Trebbi F. (2002). Institutions Rule: the Primacy of Institutions over Geography and Integration in Economic Development. NBER Working Paper No. 9305. Doi:

Romer, P. M. (1986). Increasing Returns and Long Run Growth. Journal of Political Economy, 94, 1002–37. Doi:

Rothstein, B. & Uslaner, E. M. (2005). All for All: Equality and Social Trust. LSE Health and Social Care Discussion Paper No. 15. Doi: