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The Institutional Revolution: A review essay

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  • Richard Langlois

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Abstract

This review essay discusses and appraises Douglas Allen’s The Institutional Revolution ( 2011 ) as a way of reflecting on the uses of the New Institutional Economics (NIE) in economic history. It praises and defends Allen’s method of asking “what economic problem were these institutions solving?” But it insists that such comparative-institutional analysis be imbedded within a deeper account of institutional change, one driven principally by changes – often endogenous changes – in the extent of the market and in relative scarcities. The essay supports its argument with a variety of examples of the NIE applied to economic history. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Langlois, 2013. "The Institutional Revolution: A review essay," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 26(4), pages 383-395, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:revaec:v:26:y:2013:i:4:p:383-395 DOI: 10.1007/s11138-013-0237-5
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sidney Pollard, 1963. "Factory Discipline in the Industrial Revolution," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 16(2), pages 254-271, December.
    2. Clark, Gregory, 1994. "Factory Discipline," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(01), pages 128-163, March.
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    4. Langlois, Richard N., 2004. "Chandler in a Larger Frame: Markets, Transaction Costs, and Organizational Form in History," Enterprise & Society, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(03), pages 355-375, September.
    5. Richard N. Langlois, 2003. "The vanishing hand: the changing dynamics of industrial capitalism," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 351-385, April.
    6. Domar, Evsey D., 1970. "The Causes of Slavery or Serfdom: A Hypothesis," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 30(01), pages 18-32, March.
    7. Richard N. Langlois, 1995. "The Coevolution of Technology and Organization in the Transition to the Factory System," Economic History 9503001, EconWPA.
    8. Richard N. Langlois, 2007. "The Entrepreneurial Theory of the Firm and the Theory of the Entrepreneurial Firm," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(7), pages 1107-1124, November.
    9. Szostak, Rick, 1989. "The organization of work : The emergence of the factory revisited," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 343-358, May.
    10. Douglass C. North, 2005. "Introduction to Understanding the Process of Economic Change," Introductory Chapters,in: Understanding the Process of Economic Change Princeton University Press.
    11. Landes, David S., 1986. "What Do Bosses Really Do?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(03), pages 585-623, September.
    12. Williamson, Oliver E., 1980. "The organization of work a comparative institutional assessment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 5-38, March.
    13. Demsetz, Harold, 1969. "Information and Efficiency: Another Viewpoint," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(1), pages 1-22, April.
    14. Langlois, Richard N., 2003. "Cognitive comparative advantage and the organization of work: Lessons from Herbert Simon's vision of the future," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 167-187, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Douglas Allen, 2013. "In defence of the institutional revolution," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 26(4), pages 397-412, December.
    2. Muñoz, Félix & Encinar, María Isabel & Fernández-de-Pinedo, Nadia, 2014. "Intentionality and technological and institutional change: Implications for economic development," Working Papers in Economic Theory 2014/04, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Department of Economic Analysis (Economic Theory and Economic History).
    3. Van Bavel, Bas, 2015. "History as a laboratory to better understand the formation of institutions," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(01), pages 69-91, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Institutions; Transaction costs; Aristocracy; Military history; Factory system; B52; D02; D23; N01; N4;

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity

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