Institutions and the Path to the Modern Economy: Lessons from Medieval Trade (Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions)
By: Avner Greif (author), Randall Calvert (series_editor), Thrainn Eggertsson (series_editor)Hardback
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It is widely believed that current disparities in economic, political, and social outcomes reflect distinct institutions. Institutions are invoked to explain why some countries are rich and others poor, some democratic and others dictatorial. But arguments of this sort gloss over the question of what institutions are, how they come about, and why they persist. They also fail to explain why institutions are influenced by the past, why it is that they can sometimes change, why they differ so much from society to society, and why it is hard to study them empirically and devise a policy aimed at altering them. This 2006 book seeks to overcome these problems, which have exercised economists, sociologists, political scientists, and a host of other researchers who use the social sciences to study history, law, and business administration. It presents a multi-disciplinary perspective to study endogenous institutions and their dynamics.
Avner Greif is the Bowman Family Endowed Professor in Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University where he teaches economics. He is the recipient of fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Econometrics Society, and the MacArthur Foundation. He has published articles in American Political Science Review, European Review of Economic History, Chicago Journal of International Law, and the Journal of Political Economy as well as many edited books. Greif is also a co-author of Analytic Narrative (1998).
Part I. Preliminaries: 1. Introduction; 2. Institutions and transactions; Part II. Institutions as Systems in Equilibria: 3. Private-order contract enforcement institutions: the Maghribi traders coalition; 4. The organizational underpinnings of credible commitment by the state: the Merchant Guild; 5. Endogenous institutions and game-theoretic analysis; Part III. Institutional Dynamics as a Historical Process: 6. A theory of endogenous institutional change; 7. Institutional trajectories: how past institutions affect current ones; 8. Building a state: Genoa's Rise and Fall; 9. Cultural beliefs and the organization of society; Part IV. The Empirical Method of Comparative and Historical Institutional Analysis: 10. The institutional foundations of impersonal exchange; 11. Interactive, context-specific analysis; Part V. Concluding Comments: 12. Institutions, history, and development.
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- ID: 9780521480444
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