Monday, December 19, 2011

Culture vs. Institutions in the Two Koreas

Culture matters in the economic performance of nations, but not as much as institutions. Consider the difference between China during the cultural revolution and China since Mao's death. Or, even more stark, consider the difference between North and South Korea. Matt Yglesias:
The absolute tragedy of malgovernance and suffering that is North Korea that will probably continue for some time yet despite the death of Kim Jong Il does serve as probably the most convenient illustration imaginable of the importance of political and economic institutions in shaping human destiny. North Korea and South Korea have similar geography, similar culture, similar racial/demographic issues, and totally different economic output thanks overwhelmingly to completely different political systems.

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