Can you clarify the section on Engerman and Sokoloff, a personal favorite paper of mine. I always summarized the paper as natural endowments lead to certain colonial institutions (extractive v. settler), those institutions persist post independence, influencing present development.

So when you write "The evidence for this theory isn’t very strong", what is the theory in question? The linked papers on the silver mines and gold mines, both seem to generally support the Engerman and Sokoloff theory. Presence of minerals led to an extractive institution (coerced labor), and this extractive institution has hindered present day growth: mita regions are poorer, and Colombian slavery regions are poorer.

Am I missing something or misreading the papers/section?

Big fan of this blog and I often assign your posts to my students, thanks for your work.

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“ The richest countries in Latin America in 1500, for instance, were Perú and Southern Mexico; now they’re incredibly poor, compared to the rest of the continent. ”

sorry what? southern mexico is poor relative to the rest of latin America? and so is Peru?

is that true? southern mexico looks poor for mexico, but mexico is rich for latin America, Peru looks middle of the pack, maybe I’m missing some more detailed data

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