|Following a presentation by Jared Diamond at the World Bankís Poverty Reduction and Economic Management (PREM) Lecture Series on the collapse of civilizations, Dr. Daron Acemoglu, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), spoke to the Bankís H Auditorium on January 19, 2006, about the factors that lead to societal success. His presentation was introduced by Danny Leipziger, Vice President of Poverty Reduction for the World Bank, and hosted by the Bankís PREM Network.
Acemoglu presented explanations for the differences in wealth between nations, such as geography and social organization. He summarized attempts to correlate these two factors with historical evidence for national success. The standard of measurement used for prosperity for this correlation is the degree of urbanization. By that measurement, the least prosperous nations before European colonization became the most prosperous afterward. Acemoglu linked that economic success to the institutions that the colonial powers created, particularly rule of law and legal codes. The implication then becomes an increased importance for political reform in development. After his presentation, Bank staff asked questions on keeping institutions stable, counterexamples to Acemogluís argument, and the geography/institution dichotomy.