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What Makes an Economy Productive and Progressive? What Are the Needed Institutions?

  • Richard R. Nelson

Institutions again have become the focus of the theorizing and empirical work of economists concerned with the determinants of economic growth, and of cross country differences in income levels. One central argument of this paper is that institutions and institutional change need to be understood as tightly intertwined with the technologies used in an economy, and with technological change. A second argument is that, in general, societies have very limited ability to design institutions that are effective, and that the processes of institutional reform work erratically.

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Paper provided by Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy in its series LEM Papers Series with number 2006/24.

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Date of creation: 29 Sep 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2006/24
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  1. Alfred D. Chandler, 1969. "Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the American Industrial Enterprise," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262530090, June.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 271-303, 09.
  3. Moses Abramovitz, 1956. "Resource and Output Trends in the United States Since 1870," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abra56-1, December.
  4. Nelson, Richard R, 1998. "The Agenda for Growth Theory: A Different Point of View," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(4), pages 497-520, July.
  5. Ruttan, Vernon W., 2005. "Social Science Knowledge and Induced Institutional Innovation: An Institutional Design Perspective," Staff Papers 13784, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
  6. G. Hodgson., 2007. "What Are Institutions?," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 8.
  7. Dani Rodrik & Arvind Subramanian & Francesco Trebbi, 2002. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions over Geography and Integration in Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 9305, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Nelson, Richard R. & Sampat, Bhaven N., 2001. "Making sense of institutions as a factor shaping economic performance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 31-54, January.
  9. Geoffrey M. Hodgson, 1998. "The Approach of Institutional Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 166-192, March.
  10. Moses Abramovitz, 1956. "Resource and Output Trends in the United States Since 1870," NBER Chapters, in: Resource and Output Trends in the United States Since 1870, pages 1-23 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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