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Indigenous and colonial origins of comparative economic development : the case of colonial India and Africa

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  • Bayly, C. A.

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Bayly, C. A., 2008. "Indigenous and colonial origins of comparative economic development : the case of colonial India and Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4474, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4474
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Miguel Laborda Pemn, 2011. ""Hombres que entre las raíces": Plantation colonies, slave rebellions and land redistribution in Saint Domingue and Cuba at the late colonial period, c. 1750 c. 1860," Documentos de Trabajo de la Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria 1102, Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria.
    2. Gareth Austin, 2008. "The 'reversal of fortune' thesis and the compression of history: Perspectives from African and comparative economic history," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(8), pages 996-1027.

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    Keywords

    Cultural Policy; Economic Theory&Research; Corporate Law; Anthropology;

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