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Romer’s Charter Cities v. Colonization, Imperialism, and Colonialism: A General Characterization

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  • Amavilah, Voxi Heinrich

Abstract

Paul Romer’s radical idea of chartering cities to stimulate long run economic growth and development has provoked a hot debate, not all supportive. Some of the opposition argues that the charter-city model is an antiquated idea that conjures up brutal images of failed (neo)colonialism. This essay characterizes colonization, imperialism, and colonialism in order to shed extra light on why and how effects of chartering a city are dissimilar to the effects of colonization, imperialism, and colonialism. The characterization finds that while colonization, imperialism, and colonialism share strong historical affinities, no such connections can reasonably be made to the charter-city idea. A key assumption (requirement) of the charter-city model is voluntary participation of all players. Colonization, imperialism, and colonialism were forceful and repressive systems which relied on both government cohesion and administered prices, and were therefore inefficient. Monopoly gains (rents) from colonization, imperialism, and colonialism came at the expense of reduced consumer surplus elsewhere. Success depended on monopoly rents from the trade in “objects.” Under charter cities the potential benefits to the urbanization and the economic growth of developing countries are huge. The charter-city model requires voluntary agreements. By overcoming the twin problems of consensus building and commitment utilizing market mechanisms, charter cities generate gains from the exchange of ideas. Evidence is starting to emerge suggesting that people understand that charter cities are not tentacles of (neo)colonialism; they promise real benefits if only policy makers decide to break old rules.

Suggested Citation

  • Amavilah, Voxi Heinrich, 2011. "Romer’s Charter Cities v. Colonization, Imperialism, and Colonialism: A General Characterization," MPRA Paper 29974, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:29974
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/29974/1/MPRA_paper_29974.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nathan Nunn, 2008. "The Long-term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 139-176.
    2. Romer, Paul, 1993. "Idea gaps and object gaps in economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 543-573, December.
    3. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 71-102, October.
    4. Paul M. Romer, 2010. "Which Parts of Globalization Matter for Catch-up Growth?," NBER Working Papers 15755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. José De Sousa & Julie Lochard, 2008. "Trade and colonial status," Post-Print halshs-00323598, HAL.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Charter cities and colonialism
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-05-17 19:29:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Amavilah, Voxi Heinrich, 2017. "The African origins of Euro-American development: Pins on an empirical roadmap," MPRA Paper 79925, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    charter city; Paul Romer on ideas; colonization; colonialism; imperialism; economic growth;

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • F5 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • F54 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Colonialism; Imperialism; Postcolonialism

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