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Explaining the economic trajectories of civilizations: The systemic approach

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  • Kuran, Timur
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    Abstract

    A civilization constitutes a durable social system of complementary traits. Some of the complementarities of any given civilization are between elements of "material" life and ones commonly treated as integral to "culture." Identifying the mechanisms responsible for a civilization's observed trajectory involves, therefore, causal relationships that cross the often-postulated "cultural-material" divide. Complementarities make it difficult to transplant institutions across civilizations on a piecemeal basis. They imply that reforms designed to jump-start an economy will fail unless they are comprehensive. Civilizational analysis can benefit, therefore, from attention to institutional complementarities, including ones involving both cultural and material variables.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

    Volume (Year): 71 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 3 (September)
    Pages: 593-605

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:71:y:2009:i:3:p:593-605

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

    Related research

    Keywords: Civilization Culture Economic development Institution Institutional complementarity;

    References

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    1. Douglass C. North, 2005. "Introduction to Understanding the Process of Economic Change
      [Understanding the Process of Economic Change]
      ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
    2. Kuran, Timur, 2005. "The logic of financial westernization in the Middle East," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 593-615, April.
    3. Kuran, Timur, 2003. "The Islamic Commercial Crisis: Institutional Roots of Economic Underdevelopment in the Middle East," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(02), pages 414-446, June.
    4. Masahiko Aoki, 2001. "Toward a Comparative Institutional Analysis," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262011875, December.
    5. Dani Rodrik, 2006. "Goodbye Washington Consensus, Hello Washington Confusion? A Review of the World Bank's Economic Growth in the 1990s: Learning from a Decade of Reform," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 44(4), pages 973-987, December.
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    Cited by:
    1. repec:hal:cesptp:hal-00636998 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Foster, John, 2011. "Energy, aesthetics and knowledge in complex economic systems," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 88-100.
    3. repec:hal:cesptp:halshs-00587694 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00587694 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Murizah Osman Salleh & Aziz Jaafar & M. Shahid Ebrahim, 2011. "The Inhibition of Usury (Riba An-Nasi'ah) and the Economic Underdevelopment of the Muslim World," Working Papers 11002, Bangor Business School, Prifysgol Bangor University (Cymru / Wales).
    6. François Facchini, 2013. "Economic freedom in Muslim countries: an explanation using the theory of institutional path dependency," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 139-167, August.
    7. Robbert Maseland & André Hoorn, 2011. "Why Muslims like democracy yet have so little of it," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 147(3), pages 481-496, June.

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