Indigenous and colonial origins of comparative economic development : the case of colonial India and Africa
This paper concerns the institutional origins of economic development, emphasizing the cases of nineteenth-century India and Africa. Colonial institutions-the law, western style property rights, newspapers and statistical analysis-played an important part in the emergence of Indian public and commercial life in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These institutions existed in the context of a state that was extractive and yet dependent on indigenous cooperation in many areas, especially in the case of the business class. In such conditions, Indian elites were critical in creating informal systems of peer-group education, enhancing aspiration through the use of historicist and religious themes and in creating a"benign sociology"of India as a prelude to development. Indigenous ideologies and practices were as significant in this slow enhancement of Indian capabilities as transplanted colonial ones. Contemporary development specialists would do well to consider the merits of indigenous forms of association andpublic debate, religious movements and entrepreneurial classes. Over much of Asia and Africa, the most successful enhancement of people's capabilities has come through the action of hybrid institutions of this type.
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- Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002.
"Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294.
- Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," NBER Working Papers 8460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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