We present cross-country evidence that a country's macroeconomic volatility, measured either by the standard deviation of output growth or the occurrence of trend-growth breaks, is significantly affected by the country's historical variables. In particular, countries with longer histories of state-level political institutions experience less macroeconomic volatility in postwar periods. Robustness checks reveal that the effect of this historical variable on volatility remains significant and substantial after controlling for a host of structural variables investigated in previous studies. We also find that the state history variable is more important in countries with a higher level of macroeconomic volatility.
Macroeconomic volatility history of State-level institution History of agriculture Technology adoption Political stability