This essential research review carefully analyses some of the most influential papers focusing on the relationship between economic and political institutions and economic development. Economic institutions shape economic incentives, such the incentives to become educated, to save and invest, to innovate and to adopt new technologies. Although economic institutions are critical for determining whether a country is poor or prosperous, it is politics and political institutions that determine which economic institutions are present in a country. This review explores these critical relationships and the causes of economic growth, whilst bringing forth the legal, colonial and financial factors, which contribute to economic discrepancies across countries. The text will be a valuable tool for economic researchers and scholars interested in this important subject.