How and why does history matter for development policy ?
AbstractThe consensus among scholars and policymakers that"institutions matter"for development has led inexorably to a conclusion that"history matters,"since institutions clearlyform and evolve over time. Unfortunately, however, the next logical step has not yet been taken, which is to recognize that historians (and not only economic historians) might also have useful and distinctive insights to offer. This paper endeavors to open and sustain a constructive dialogue between history -- understood as both"the past"and"the discipline"-- and development policy by (a) clarifying what the craft of historical scholarship entails, especially as it pertains to understanding causal mechanisms, contexts, and complex processes of institutional change; (b) providing examples of historical research that support, qualify, or challenge the most influential research (by economists and economic historians) in contemporary development policy; and (c) offering some general principles and specific implications that historians, on the basis of the distinctive content and method of their research, bring to development policy debates.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5425.
Date of creation: 01 Sep 2010
Date of revision:
Cultural Policy; Economic Theory&Research; Population Policies; Cultural Heritage&Preservation; Development Economics&Aid Effectiveness;
Other versions of this item:
- Michael Woolcock & Simon Szreter & Vijayendra Rao, 2011. "How and Why Does History Matter for Development Policy?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(1), pages 70-96.
- Michael Woolcock & Simon Szreter & Vijayendra Rao, 2009. "How and Why Does History Matter for Development Policy?," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 6809, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
- NEP-ALL-2010-10-02 (All new papers)
- NEP-CWA-2010-10-02 (Central & Western Asia)
- NEP-EVO-2010-10-02 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-HIS-2010-10-02 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-HPE-2010-10-02 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-PKE-2010-10-02 (Post Keynesian Economics)
- NEP-SOC-2010-10-02 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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- Prowse, Martin, 2011. "A century of growth? A history of tobacco production and marketing in Malawi 1890-2005," IOB Working Papers 2011.10, Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy and Management (IOB).
- Olivier STERCK & Olivia D’AOUST, 2012. "Who Benefits from Customary Justice? Rent-seeking, Bribery and Criminality in Sub-Saharan Africa," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2012015, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
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