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In Good Company: About Agency and Economic Development in Global Perspective

Author

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  • Jan Luiten van Zanden

    () (Department of Economics, Universities of Utrech and Stellenbosch)

Abstract

The paper discusses some evidence, based on a review of new literature on economic history, about what is referred to as the Sen-hypothesis, that increasing human agency (of both men and women) is a key factor in economic development. It briefly discusses various dimensions of agency (or its absence): slavery (as the absolute suppression of human agency), access to markets, agency concerning marriage, and political participation. This concept perhaps also allows economic historians to move beyond the historical determinism that is central to much recent work in this field.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Luiten van Zanden, 2011. "In Good Company: About Agency and Economic Development in Global Perspective," Working Papers 23/2011, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers151
    as

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    File URL: https://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2011/wp232011/wp-23-2011.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2011
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Edward Glaeser & Giacomo Ponzetto & Andrei Shleifer, 2007. "Why does democracy need education?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 77-99, June.
    2. Jan Luiten Van Zanden & Eltjo Buringh & Maarten Bosker, 2012. "The rise and decline of European parliaments, 1188–1789," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 65(3), pages 835-861, August.
    3. Daron Acemoglu & María Angélica Bautista & Pablo Querubín & James A. Robinson, 2007. "Economic and Political Inequality in Development: The Case of Cundinamarca, Colombia," NBER Working Papers 13208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Timur Kuran, 2011. "The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9273.
    5. 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.
    6. Tine De Moor & Jan Luiten Van Zanden, 2010. "Girl power: the European marriage pattern and labour markets in the North Sea region in the late medieval and early modern period1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(1), pages 1-33, February.
    7. Jan Luiten van Zanden & Jaco Zuijderduijn & Tine De Moor, 2012. "Small is beautiful: the efficiency of credit markets in the late medieval Holland," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 3-22, February.
    8. Coşgel, Metin, 2011. "The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East. By Timur Kuran. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010. Pp.xvi, 405. $29.95, hardcover," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(04), pages 1114-1116, December.
    9. North,Douglass C. & Wallis,John Joseph & Weingast,Barry R., 2013. "Violence and Social Orders," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107646995.
    10. Nunn, Nathan, 2007. "Slavery, Inequality, and Economic Development in the Americas: An Examination of the Engerman-Sokoloff Hypothesis," MPRA Paper 4080, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. On Agency
      by Johan Fourie in Johan Fourie's Blog on 2012-01-25 16:08:22
    2. Agency condition e história econômica
      by Thomas H. Kang in Oikomania on 2012-03-28 17:45:00
    3. Of Good and Better Companies: Reflections On Agency and Economic History
      by Manuel Bautista in NEP-HIS blog on 2012-03-26 09:12:06
    4. Of Good and Better Companies: Reflections On Agency and Economic History
      by Manuel Bautista in NEP-HIS blog on 2012-03-26 09:12:06
    5. Of Good and Better Companies: Reflections On Agency and Economic History
      by Manuel Bautista in NEP-HIS blog on 2012-03-26 09:12:06

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Silvana Maubrigades, 2015. "Connections between women`s age at marriage and social and economic development," Documentos de trabajo 39, Programa de Historia Económica, FCS, Udelar.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    agency; economic development; economic history;

    JEL classification:

    • N00 - Economic History - - General - - - General
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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