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Growth, institutions and knowledge: a review and reflection on the historiography of 18th-20th century China

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  • Debin Ma

Abstract

This article surveys major themes on the latest revisionist thesis of economic growth in China during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. With an emphasis on the role of informal and formal institutions to economic growth, this article reviews the traditional legal system and its impact on the organizational evolution of major Chinese merchant groups. It argues that, to understand the distinctive path of long-term economic growth or stagnation in China, we need to go beyond the study of resource endowments or technologies, to also incorporate an economic analysis of China's traditional social and political institutions and their associated ideologies. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd and the Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand 2004.

Suggested Citation

  • Debin Ma, 2004. "Growth, institutions and knowledge: a review and reflection on the historiography of 18th-20th century China," Australian Economic History Review, Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 44(3), pages 259-277, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ozechr:v:44:y:2004:i:3:p:259-277
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    Cited by:

    1. Li Tan, 2013. "Market-Supporting Institutions, Gild Organisations, and the Industrial Revolution: A Comparative View," Australian Economic History Review, Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 53(3), pages 221-246, November.
    2. Wolcott, Susan, 2010. "Explorations' contribution to the 'Asian Century'," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 360-367, July.
    3. Xu, Yi & Foldvari, Peter & Van Leeuwen, Bas, 2013. "Human capital in Qing China: economic determinism or a history of failed opportunities?," MPRA Paper 43525, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Greif, Avner & Tabellini, Guido, 2017. "The clan and the corporation: Sustaining cooperation in China and Europe," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 1-35.
    5. Su, Biwei & Heshmati, Almas, 2011. "Analysis of Gender Wage Differential in China's Urban Labor Market," IZA Discussion Papers 6252, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Osamu Saito, 2015. "Growth and inequality in the great and little divergence debate: a Japanese perspective," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 68(2), pages 399-419, May.
    7. Ma, Debin & Yuan, Weipeng, 2016. "Discovering economic history in footnotes: the story of the Tong Taisheng merchant archive (1790-1850)," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 67552, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    8. Niv Horesh, 2015. "Gerschenkron Redux? Analysing New Evidence on Joint-Stock Enterprise in Pre-War Shanghai," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 29(1), pages 25-46, May.
    9. Hoskin, Keith & Macve, Richard, 2012. "Contesting the indigenous development of “Chinese double-entry bookkeeping” and its significance in China’s economic institutions and business organization before c.1850," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 42583, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Ma, Debin, 2012. "Political Institution and Long Run Economic Trajectory: Some Lessons from Two Millennia of Chinese Civilization," CEPR Discussion Papers 8791, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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