The Sugar-Coated Path to Economic Inequality. A Comparative Study of Guyana and Suriname, ca. 1600-present
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In terms of economic development, since at least the second half of the twentieth century Suriname (former Dutch Guiana) is doing significantly and persistently better than Guyana (former British Guiana). This thesis addresses the question why the former is doing so much better than the latter. The two nations on the north-central end of the South American continent are separated only by a border drawn arbitrarily across their landscape and in colonial times both were sugar plantation economies. Because their colonial histories are by and large shared - until the nineteenth century colonial administration of both colonies was even in the hands of the Dutch - it is argued that geographic endowments are unable to explain the divergence in economic growth achievements. Instead, this thesis asserts an independent role for institutional designs in the nineteenth century and resulting differing fiscal policies in determining long-run economic outcomes.