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Lecture 9 - The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth A...

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The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and Historical Analysis Lecture 9 James A. Robinson Harvard October 7, 2009 James A. Robinson (Harvard) The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and Historical Analysis October 7, 2009 1 / 8
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The Dissemination In the last lecture I started to talk about the dissemination of the British industrial revolution and how the institutions of Africa were probably not very conducive to this. In °Colonial Origins±we talk about extractive institutions . I shall have more to say about this when I talk about the slave trade. But some parts of the world did have political and economic institutions which created better incentives. One class were °settler colonies±such as the United States which had independently developed non-extractive, let me call the inclusive institutions . Another class were parts of western Europe which had experienced many of the same historical processes as Britain, but just not so rapidly or intensively. Or had been subject to other processes which led their institutions to diverge somewhat from Britain. James A. Robinson (Harvard) The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and Historical Analysis October 7, 2009 2 / 8
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The Rise of Absolutism Feudalism emerged (according to Marc Bloch) because of a collapse of central state authority. At the same time as feudal institutions were declining in Western Europe the authority of the central state was re-asserting itself. This process, the rise of Absolutism , created di/erent economic problems, mainly because property rights became insecure because threatened by the power of the central state. The most famous absolutist monarch was Louis XIV - L°Øtat, c°est moi (I am the state). The signi²cant transition in Britain was both the decline of feudal institutions, the fact that a di/erent type of extractive set of economic institutions did not emerge and the fact that during the 17th century Britain got absolutism under control. James A. Robinson (Harvard) The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and Historical Analysis October 7, 2009 3 / 8
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The Dutch The economic history of the Netherlands is a crucial one. They developed an institutional structure which allowed Jan de Vries and Ad van der Woude to call it ³the ²rst modern economy.´ The distinctiveness of the Netherlands is argued to come from the absence of feudalism and also because the need to protect the land from inundations from the sea created a lot of social capital and ability to cooperate. Open ²elds were missing, guilds weak, high social mobility, peasants completely free. Property rights secure. The Netherlands developed a very vibrant mercantile economy in the late medieval period on the basis of trade in the Baltic. Urbanization was very high.
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