Economic development lessons from and for North American Indian economies

By Terry L. Anderson and Dominic P. Parker

Abstract

This paper reviews the literature on economic development as it relates to indigenous people in the United States and Canada, and focuses on how institutions affect economic development of reservation and reserve economies. Evidence shows that strong property rights to reservation and reserve land and natural resources, whether communal or individual, are and always have been important determinants of productivity. Political and legal institutions that are perceived as stable and predictable to tribal members and to non-Natives also improve economic opportunities for indigenous people living on reservations and reserves. Research reviewed here also shows that culture and acculturation are important in the development process. Although our emphasis is on North America, the findings are applicable to indigenous people in other parts of the world and shed light on growth questions that loom large for developing countries around the world.

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The Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics
Terry Anderson is the William A. Dunn Distinguished Senior Fellow and former President and Executive Director of PERC as well as the John and Jean De Nault Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He believes that market approaches can be both economically sound and environmentally sensitive. His research helped launch the...
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Dominic Parker is a Senior Research Fellow at PERC and is an Assistant Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics at University of Wisconsin-Madison where he teaches courses in natural resource economics. His research examines how legal systems and government policies affect natural resource use, environmental outcomes, and economic...
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