We also look at the issue of institutional change it

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Unformatted text preview: 80. We also look at the issue of institutional change. It could be that Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, had followed a di¤erent path of institutional development historically. But this does not imply that after 1780, when the industrial revolution started, countries could not have changed their institutions. Later we’ discuss some famous examples of this, such as Japan after ll the Meiji restoration of 1867, and China after the death of Mao Zedong in 1975. James A. Robinson (Harvard) The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and Historical Analysis October 5, 2009 4 / 25 The Historical Development of Africa Older tradition argued that Africa had poor institutions. A.G. Hopkins gives a stylized version (p. 9): “The dominant agricultural sector .. was virtually immobilized by a combination of primitive technology, communal land tenure and the extended family. The development of key entrepreneurial groups was inhibited by the presence of an anti-capitalist value system. This ideology was reinforced by African political systems which were either conservative gerontocracies based on ascribed status, or were so egalitarian that it was impossible for prospective innovators to accumulate savings. Such exchange as did occur did not follow the rules of supply and demand .. But was conducted with the aim of maximizing social rather than economic values .. There was no regular, institutionalized means of selling land, hiring labor, or raising money.” James A. Robinson (Harvard) The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and Historical Analysis October 5, 2009 5 / 25 Hopkins Economic History of West Africa Book by Hopkins is an attempt to demolish these ‘ myths’about the institutions of the pre-colonial economy of Africa. But long history of agricultural experimentation and adaptation. Maize and Cassava spread from South America (recall the Bushong in the Congo). Bananas from Asia. Forms of property rights in land sensible given that land was not scarce and they were also consistent with innovati...
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This document was uploaded on 02/28/2014 for the course ECON 2328 at Harvard.

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