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Where Have We Been And Where Are We Going?


  • Douglass C. North

    (Washington University)


Improving our undertanding of the nature of economic change entails that we draw on the only laboratory that we have--the past. But "understanding" the past entails imposing order on the myriad facts that have survived to explain what has happened--that is theory. To begin we need to assess what we have learned from the past and then assess the usefulness of the tools at hand--ie the rationality assumption and growth theory we employ in economics? We will then go on to explore in subsequent sections some recent development that offer the promise of improving our understanding of the past and of where we are going.

Suggested Citation

  • Douglass C. North, 1996. "Where Have We Been And Where Are We Going?," Economic History 9612001, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpeh:9612001
    Note: Type of Document - word; prepared on pc; to print on HP Postscript; pages: 19; figures: none

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barsky, Robert B. & Long, J. Bradford De, 1990. "Bull and Bear Markets in the Twentieth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(02), pages 265-281, June.
    2. Campbell, John Y & Shiller, Robert J, 1988. " Stock Prices, Earnings, and Expected Dividends," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(3), pages 661-676, July.
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    1. Simplice Asongu, 2015. "Fighting Software Piracy in Africa: How Do Legal Origins and IPRs Protection Channels Matter?," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), vol. 6(4), pages 682-703, December.
    2. Antonio Andrés & Simplice Asongu, 2013. "Fighting Software Piracy: Which Governance Tools Matter in Africa?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 118(3), pages 667-682, December.
    3. Odd-Helge Fjeldstad, 2003. "What has trust got to do with it? Non-payment of service charges in local authorities in South Africa," CMI Working Papers WP 2003:12, CMI (Chr. Michelsen Institute), Bergen, Norway.
    4. Asongu Simplice & Antonio R. Andrés, 2012. "Fighting software piracy: which governance tools matter in Africa?," Working Papers 12/017, African Governance and Development Institute..
    5. Jaime Lozano, 1999. "Economía institucional y ciencia económica," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 1(1), pages 99-128, July-dece.

    More about this item


    growth history institution rationality;

    JEL classification:

    • N - Economic History

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