Some recent empirical studies deny any direct performance effects of measures of geography
and conclude that institutions trump all other potential determinants of development. For
given effects of institutional quality, our empirical results indicate quantitatively important
direct negative performance effects of a measure of disease ecology, namely malaria
prevalence. This finding appears to be robust to using alternative specifications,
instrumentations, and samples. We conclude from our estimates that implementing good
institutions appears to be necessary but not sufficient to generate a persistent process of
successful economic development.