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Institutions Without Culture. A Critique of Acemoglu and Robinson's Theory of Economic Development

Listed author(s):
  • Joanna Dzionek-Kozlowska

    ()

    (Institute of Economics, Department of History of Economic Thought and Economic History, University of Lodz)

  • Rafal Matera

    (Institute of Economics, Department of History of Economic Thought and Economic History, University of Lodz)

Acemoglu and Robinson’s theory presented in their famous Why Nations Fail, and other papers, should be placed among the institutional theories of economic development. Yet the problem is they strongly differentiate their concept from the so-called culture hypothesis, which they reject. This stance is difficult to accept, not only because of the significance of culture-related factors of economic development, but it is also difficult to reconcile with their own model. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that such a strong rejection of the culture hypothesis is inconsistent with their own analysis, triggers some principal problems with understanding the basic notion of institution, and suggests Acemoglu and Robinson are only focused on considering formal institutions. The article concludes with the statement that, paradoxically, Acemoglu and Robinson’s unconvincing rejection of the culture hypothesis may be regarded as a justification of the importance of culture-related factors.

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File URL: http://dspace.uni.lodz.pl:8080/xmlui/bitstream/handle/11089/19304/LEWP_9_2016.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
File Function: First version, 2016
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Paper provided by University of Lodz, Faculty of Economics and Sociology in its series Lodz Economics Working Papers with number 9/2016.

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Date of creation: Aug 2016
Handle: RePEc:ann:wpaper:9/2016
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  1. Greif, Avner & Mokyr, Joel, 2016. "Institutions and economic history: a critique of professor McCloskey," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(01), pages 29-41, March.
  2. Spiegler, Peter & Milberg, William, 2009. "The taming of institutions in economics: the rise and methodology of the ‘ new new institutionalism’," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(03), pages 289-313, December.
  3. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2015. "The Rise and Decline of General Laws of Capitalism," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 29(1), pages 3-28, Winter.
  4. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2006. "Does Culture Affect Economic Outcomes?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 23-48, Spring.
  5. William Easterly, 2015. "Response to reviewers on “The Tyranny of Experts”," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 28(4), pages 425-441, December.
  6. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  7. Beugelsdijk,Sjoerd & Maseland,Robbert, 2014. "Culture in Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107684614.
  8. Guido Tabellini, 2008. "Presidential Address Institutions and Culture," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 255-294, 04-05.
  9. Joanna Dzionek-Kozlowska, 2015. "Economics in times of crisis. In search of a new paradigm in economic sciences," The Journal of Philosophical Economics, Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, The Journal of Philosophical Economics, vol. 9(1), November.
  10. Maseland, Robbert, 2011. "How to make institutional economics better," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(04), pages 555-559, December.
  11. Douglass C. North, 2005. "Introduction to Understanding the Process of Economic Change," Introductory Chapters,in: Understanding the Process of Economic Change Princeton University Press.
  12. Ménard, Claude & Shirley, Mary M., 2014. "The future of new institutional economics: from early intuitions to a new paradigm?," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(04), pages 541-565, December.
  13. Steve Pejovich, 2003. "Understanding the transaction costs of transition: it's the culture, stupid," ICER Working Papers 24-2003, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  14. Svetozar Pejovich, 2003. "Understanding the Transaction Costs of Transition: it's the Culture, Stupid," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 16(4), pages 347-361, December.
  15. Hodgson, Geoffrey M. & Stoelhorst, J. W., 2014. "Introduction to the special issue on the future of institutional and evolutionary economics," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(04), pages 513-540, December.
  16. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A., 2005. "Institutions as a Fundamental Cause of Long-Run Growth," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 385-472 Elsevier.
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