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Political Legitimacy and Technology Adoption

  • Metin M. Cosgel

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Thomas J. Miceli

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Jared Rubin

    (Chapman University)

A fundamental question of economic and technological history is why some civilizations adopted new and important technologies and others did not. In this paper, we construct a simple political economy model which suggests that rulers may not accept a productivity-enhancing technology when it negatively affects an agent’s ability to provide the ruler legitimacy. However, when other sources of legitimacy emerge, the ruler will accept the technology as long as the new legitimizing source is not negatively affected. This insight helps explain the initial blocking but eventual accepting of the printing press in the Ottoman Empire and industrialization in Tsarist Russia. JEL Classification: D7, H2, H3, N4, N7, O3, O5, P48, P5, Z12 Key words: Technology, Political Economy, Legitimacy, Tsarist Russia, Ottoman Empire

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File URL: http://web2.uconn.edu/economics/working/2011-28.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2011-28.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2011-28
Contact details of provider: Postal: University of Connecticut 365 Fairfield Way, Unit 1063 Storrs, CT 06269-1063
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Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/

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  1. Steven Nafziger, 2008. "Democracy Under the Tsars? The Case of the Zemstvo," Department of Economics Working Papers 2008-23, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  2. Cosgel, Metin & Miceli, Thomas & Ahmed, Rasha, 2009. "Law, state power, and taxation in Islamic history," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 704-717, September.
  3. Jared Rubin, 2011. "Institutions, the Rise of Commerce and the Persistence of Laws: Interest Restrictions in Islam and Christianity," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(557), pages 1310-1339, December.
  4. Jörg Baten & Jan Luiten van Zanden, 2007. "Book production and the onset of modern economic growth," Economics Working Papers 1030, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  5. Bridgman, Benjamin R. & Livshits, Igor D. & MacGee, James C., 2007. "Vested interests and technology adoption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 649-666, April.
  6. Canton, Erik J. F. & de Groot, Henri L. F. & Nahuis, Richard, 2002. "Vested interests, population ageing and technology adoption," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 631-652, November.
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