University of Vienna -> Department of Development Studies -> Conference

Geographic and Political Determinants of Economic Development

The economic performance of countries is subject to many influences. This research agenda attempts to focus on two dimensions of obvious interest:

  • The geographic dimension, broadly understood (location, climate, resource abundance, characteristics of surrounding neighbors, distance to world markets, etc.), which affects, for example, specialization patterns and thereby conditions the long-term performance of countries.

  • The political/institutional dimension, which establishes to a great extent the “rules of the game” (stability of property rights, bargaining power of different groups, effectiveness in the solution of public goods provision, etc.) in which economic activity takes place, thus affecting the development paths of countries.

Our research aims to have a better understanding as to how geographic and political/institutional forces affect the economic development of countries. We focus on these two dimensions separately, but also consider their interactions (e.g., the effects of geography might depend on the institutional setup in place) as well as the feedback processes that arise over time (e.g., economic performance affects the correlation of political forces and may thereby change the institutional setup of a country). The consideration of “historical accidents” leading to exogenous changes in the geography (e.g., discovery of natural resources, redefinition of borders) and the institutions (e.g. colonial influence) of countries will be of particular interest.


  • Florian Kaulich "The role of global business linkages for African economies - Preliminary results from UNIDO's Africa Investor Survey 2010"
  • Valentin Seidler "Buildig institutional framework for economic development - The case of the Kanuri in Nigeria"
  • Anja Breitwieser & Katharina Wick "Does aid matter? Examining the effect of aid on productive public good outcomes"

⇒ Saturday 29 October 2011, Seminar Room 2 (9.30-11.00)
⇒ Contact: Alejandro Cuñat

Conference of the Department of Development Studies | Dr.-Karl-Lueger-Ring 1  | 1010 Vienna