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 development 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
Cornell, Stephen, and Joseph P. Kalt. 2000. "Where’s the Glue? Institutional and Cultural Foundations of American Indian Economic Development." The Journal of Socio-Economics 29 (5):443-470.