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Indigenous and colonial origins of comparative economic development : the case of colonial India and Africa

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  • Bayly, C. A.
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    Abstract

    This paper concerns the institutional origins of economic development, emphasizing the cases of nineteenth-century India and Africa. Colonial institutions-the law, western style property rights, newspapers and statistical analysis-played an important part in the emergence of Indian public and commercial life in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These institutions existed in the context of a state that was extractive and yet dependent on indigenous cooperation in many areas, especially in the case of the business class. In such conditions, Indian elites were critical in creating informal systems of peer-group education, enhancing aspiration through the use of historicist and religious themes and in creating a"benign sociology"of India as a prelude to development. Indigenous ideologies and practices were as significant in this slow enhancement of Indian capabilities as transplanted colonial ones. Contemporary development specialists would do well to consider the merits of indigenous forms of association andpublic debate, religious movements and entrepreneurial classes. Over much of Asia and Africa, the most successful enhancement of people's capabilities has come through the action of hybrid institutions of this type.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4474.

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    Date of creation: 01 Jan 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4474

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    Keywords: Cultural Policy; Economic Theory&Research; Corporate Law; Anthropology;

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    1. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," NBER Working Papers 8460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:
    1. Gareth Austin, 2008. "The 'reversal of fortune' thesis and the compression of history: Perspectives from African and comparative economic history," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(8), pages 996-1027.
    2. Miguel Laborda Pemn, 2011. ""Hombres que entre las raíces": Plantation colonies, slave rebellions and land redistribution in Saint Domingue and Cuba at the late colonial period, c. 1750 c. 1860," Documentos de Trabajo de la Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria, Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria 1102, Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria.

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