IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/9989.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Institutional and Non-Institutional Explanations of Economic Differences

Author

Listed:
  • Stanley L. Engerman
  • Kenneth L. Sokoloff

Abstract

Although we cannot conceive of processes of economic growth that do not involve institutional change, in this essay we outline some reasons why one should be cautious about grounding a theory of growth on institutions. We emphasize how very different institutional structures have often been found to be reasonable substitutes for each other, both in dissimilar as well as similar contexts. The historical record, therefore, does not seem to support the notion that any particular institution, narrowly defined, is indispensable for growth. Moreover, we discuss how the evidence that there are systematic patterns to the ways institutions evolve undercuts the idea that exogenous change in institutions is what powers growth. Institutions matter, but our thinking of how they matter should recognize that they are profoundly influenced by the political and economic environment, and that if any aspect of institutions is crucial for growth, it is that institutions change over time as circumstances change.

Suggested Citation

  • Stanley L. Engerman & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 2003. "Institutional and Non-Institutional Explanations of Economic Differences," NBER Working Papers 9989, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9989
    Note: DAE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9989.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Patrick K. O'Brien, 1988. "The political economy of British taxation, 1660-1815," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 41(1), pages 1-32, February.
    2. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
    3. de Vries, Jan, 1994. "The Industrial Revolution and the Industrious Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(2), pages 249-270, June.
    4. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 2003. "Tropics, germs, and crops: how endowments influence economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 3-39, January.
    5. Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 1988. "Inventive Activity in Early Industrial America: Evidence From Patent Records, 1790 - 1846," NBER Working Papers 2707, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. North, Douglass C. & Weingast, Barry R., 1989. "Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(4), pages 803-832, December.
    7. 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.
    8. Stanley L. Engerman & Kenneth Lee Sokoloff, 2002. "Factor Endowments, Inequality, and Paths of Development Among New World Economies," Economía Journal, The Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association - LACEA, vol. 0(Fall 2002), pages 41-110, August.
    9. Claude Ménard (ed.), 2000. "Institutions, Contracts and Organizations," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1921.
    10. Kenneth L. Sokoloff & Stanley L. Engerman, 2000. "Institutions, Factor Endowments, and Paths of Development in the New World," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 217-232, Summer.
    11. Sokoloff, Kenneth L., 1988. "Inventive Activity in Early Industrial America: Evidence From Patent Records, 1790–1846," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(4), pages 813-850, December.
    12. Domar, Evsey D., 1970. "The Causes of Slavery or Serfdom: A Hypothesis," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 30(1), pages 18-32, March.
    13. Khan, B. Zorina, 1996. "Married Women's Property Laws and Female Commercial Activity: Evidence from United States Patent Records, 1790–1895," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 356-388, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Tobias D. Ketterer & Andrés Rodríguez‐Pose, 2018. "Institutions vs. ‘first‐nature’ geography: What drives economic growth in Europe's regions?," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(S1), pages 25-62, March.
    2. Carol H. Shiue & Wolfgang Keller, 2007. "Markets in China and Europe on the Eve of the Industrial Revolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1189-1216, September.
    3. Jeffrey Frankel, 2014. "Mauritius: African Success Story," NBER Chapters, in: African Successes, Volume IV: Sustainable Growth, pages 295-342, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Anne D. Boschini & Jan Pettersson & Jesper Roine, 2007. "Resource Curse or Not: A Question of Appropriability," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 109(3), pages 593-617, September.
    5. Sukkoo Kim, 2007. "Institutions and U.S. Regional Development: A Study of Massachusetts and Virginia," NBER Working Papers 13431, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Weinhold, Diana & Nair-Reichert, Usha, 2009. "Innovation, Inequality and Intellectual Property Rights," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 889-901, May.
    7. 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.
    8. Abdoul’ Mijiyawa, 2013. "Determinants of property rights institutions: survey of literature and new evidence," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 127-183, May.
    9. Djankov, Simeon & Glaeser, Edward & La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2003. "The new comparative economics," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 595-619, December.
    10. Bezemer, Dirk & Bolt, Jutta & Lensink, Robert, 2014. "Slavery, Statehood, and Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 148-163.
    11. Sébastien Marchand, 2012. "Legal Origin, Colonial Origins and Deforestation," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(2), pages 1653-1670.
    12. Sazzadul Arefin, 2019. "Geographic Endowment, Corruption, and Economic Development," Business and Economic Research, Macrothink Institute, vol. 9(1), pages 1-32, March.
    13. Kaufmann, Daniel, 2003. "Governance Redux: The Empirical Challenge," MPRA Paper 8210, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Andrea F. Presbitero, 2006. "Institutions and geography as sources of economic development," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(3), pages 351-378.
    15. Crafts, Nicholas & O’Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj, 2014. "Twentieth Century Growth*This research has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) / ERC grant agreement no. 249546.," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 6, pages 263-346, Elsevier.
    16. Matthew J. Baker & Christa N. Brunnschweiler & Erwin H. Bulte, 2008. "Did History Breed Inequality? Colonial Factor Endowments and Modern Income Distribution," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 08/86, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
    17. Cinnirella, Francesco & Hornung, Erik, 2016. "Landownership concentration and the expansion of education," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 135-152.
    18. Daniel Oto-Peralías & Diego Romero-Ávila, 2016. "The economic consequences of the Spanish Reconquest: the long-term effects of Medieval conquest and colonization," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 21(4), pages 409-464, December.
    19. Jean Paul Azam & Robert Bates & Bruno Biais, 2009. "Political Predation And Economic Development," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(2), pages 255-277, July.
    20. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2013. "How Deep Are the Roots of Economic Development?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(2), pages 325-369, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9989. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.