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Adam Smith's theory of economic history and economic development


  • Kwangsu Kim


The aim of the paper is to show that Smith has a theory of economic history grounded in a politico-economic modeling (as well as a sort of economic theoretical modeling). In terms of the politico-economic approach, in the Wealth of Nations (Book III.ii-iv) Smith tried to offer a systematic account of economic development from feudalism to capitalism in Europe. These lead to suggest that the seeming internal inconsistency between the natural and the actual courses of progress in Book III may be resolved, and that Smith may be treated as a precursor of Douglass North, who stressed an inextricable link between the polity and the economy in economic history.

Suggested Citation

  • Kwangsu Kim, 2009. "Adam Smith's theory of economic history and economic development," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(1), pages 41-64.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:eujhet:v:16:y:2009:i:1:p:41-64
    DOI: 10.1080/09672560802707407

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    1. repec:ceh:journl:y:2017:v:2:p:9-34 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Kwangsu Kim, 2014. "Adam Smith's and Douglass North's Multidisciplinary Approach to Economic Development," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 73(1), pages 3-31, January.


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