Your “moral circle” is wider with intelligence and patience than without.
…To paraphrase Garett Jones…smart, patient people are more Coasian; they find a way to cooperate and build good institutions.
It is a very long essay, and all throughout I was thinking of Garett Jones, so it was nice to see him turn up at the end. Pointer from Tyler Cowen.
The substantive point is that you can expect good institutions when you have a population that is high in intelligence and patience. Although the author of the essay does not go this far, I would suggest a causal pyramid with population intelligence and patience at the bottom, institutions the layer on top of that, and economic outcomes and other indicators of human development on top of that.
See also the appendix to my recipe for good government piece.