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The Evolution Of Efficient Markets In History

  • Douglass C. North

    (Washington University)

I take my text from Max Hartwell: "...but no historian has detailed the steps by which for example, the market economy was achieved in terms of government action or changing law; no historian has linked mercantilist with laissez-faire law to trace the chronology of legal and economic change. In this neglect, surely a major element for understanding of the industrial revolution has been overlooked." And Max might have added that in consequence of our failure to analyze how a market economy was achieved in history we have not been able to provide guidance for policy makers in the present world who are attempting to restructure failed centrally planned economies. A first step in meeting Max's challenge is to delineate the institutional characteristics of market economies in order that we may then explore their historical evolution.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Economic History with number 9411005.

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Date of creation: 25 Nov 1994
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Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpeh:9411005
Note: ascii text, PostScript available, 3551 words
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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  1. Paul R. Milgrom & Douglass C. North & Barry R. Weingast, 1990. "The Role Of Institutions In The Revival Of Trade: The Law Merchant, Private Judges, And The Champagne Fairs," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(1), pages 1-23, 03.
  2. Watts, Ross L & Zimmerman, Jerold L, 1983. "Agency Problems, Auditing, and the Theory of the Firm: Some Evidence," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(3), pages 613-33, October.
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