Where's the glue? Institutional and cultural foundations of American Indian economic development

Stephen Cornell, Joseph P. Kalt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Scopus citations


Since the mid-1970s, the hundreds of American Indian reservations in the United States have been afforded substantial powers of self-government - from law enforcement and taxation to environmental and business regulation. The result has been a set of diverse efforts to overcome widespread poverty, with equally diverse outcomes. This study reports the results of research into the sources of devel-opment success during the "take-off" stage of self-government. Little evidence is found to support hypotheses that resource or human capital endowments hold keys to launching Indian economies. Instead, tribal constitutional forms appear to be make-or-break keys to development. Development takes hold when these forms provide for separations of powers and when their structures match indigenous norms of political legitimacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-470
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Socio-Economics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics

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