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The Evolution of a NationHow Geography and Law Shaped the American States$
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Daniel Berkowitz and Karen B. Clay

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691136042

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691136042.001.0001

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Initial Conditions and State Political Competition

Initial Conditions and State Political Competition

(p.60) Chapter 3 Initial Conditions and State Political Competition
The Evolution of a Nation

Daniel Berkowitz

Karen B. Clay

Princeton University Press

This chapter investigates the relationship between five initial conditions in states—temperature, precipitation, distance to oceans, distance to rivers and lakes, and colonial legal system—and long-run levels of state political competition. State political competition is measured by examining the division of seats in the legislature between the political parties, although a number of other measures of state political competition are also examined. This chapter sketches some relationships between initial conditions and state political competition. It emphasizes the importance of state political competition, because it is thought to lead to better economic and social outcomes. In fact, there is a strong positive association between the extent of political competition and outcomes.

Keywords:   state political competition, initial state conditions, political parties, democracy, economic outcomes, social outcomes

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