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Sequence of Topics

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1. Introduction: social institutions and economic development.

Derek Thompson, "The Economic History of the Last 2,000 Years in 1 Little Graph," The Atlantic, June 19, 2012.

Richard N. Langlois, “The Great Question,” Manuscript 2003. 

Meir Kohn, How and Why Economies Develop and Grow: Lessons from Preindustrial Europe and China, Manuscript, chapters 1 and 2.

Rondo Cameron and Larry Neal, A Concise Economic History of the World, chapter 1.

Douglass C. North, Structure and Change in Economic History. New York: Norton, 1981, chapters 1-6.

Gregory Clark, A Farewell to Alms (Princeton, 2007), chapter 2. (you might want to look at some of the other chapters, especially chapters 1 and 10.)

Video: The theory of the state.

Video: Health and economic growth.

Video: Niall Ferguson on the six "killer apps" of prosperity.


2. Prehistoric and Ancient precursors.

Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel, as much as you can, but especially the prologue and chapters 1, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14.

Video: Guns, Germs, and Steel.

Richard H. Steckel and John Wallis, "Stones, Bones, and States: A New Approach to the Neolithic Revolution," Working Paper, 2007.

Jane Jacobs,The Economy of Cities.  New York: Random House, 1969, chapter 1.

Cameron and Neal, chapter 2.

North, Structure and Change, chapters 7-9.

Peter Temin, “The Economy of the Early Roman Empire,The Journal of Economic Perspectives 20(1): 133-151 (Winter 2006).

Bruce Bartlett, "How Excessive Government Killed Ancient Rome," The Cato Journal 14(2), Fall 1994.

Further reading.

Video: Pax Romana.

Link: ORBIS: The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World.


3. Feudalism.

Cameron and Neal, Chapter 3.

North, Structure and Change, chapter 10.

Gary Richardson, "Craft Guilds and Christianity in Late-Medieval England," Rationality and Society 17(2): 139-189 (May 1, 2005).

Douglass C. North and Robert Paul Thomas, "The Rise and Fall of the Manorial System: A Theoretical Model," The Journal of Economic History 31(4): 777-803 (1971).

Stefano Fenoaltea, "Transaction Costs, Whig History, and the Common Fields," Politics and Society 16(2-3): 171-217 (Summer, 1988). 

Henry E. Smith, "Semicommon Property Rights and Scattering in the Open Fields," The Journal of Legal Studies 29(1): 131-169 (2000).

Nicholas Wade, "Scientists Solve Puzzle of Black Death’s DNA," The New York Times, October 12, 2011.

Meir Kohn "The Expansion of Trade and the Transformation of Agriculture in Preindustrial Europe." (Used with author's permission.)

Video: The Black Death.


4. The revival of trade.

North, Structure and Change, chapter 11.

North, Wallis, and Weingast, " A Conceptual Framework," pp. 28-73.

Nathan Rosenberg and L. E. Birdzell, Jr., How the West Grew Rich, chapter 4.

Meir Kohn, The Origins of Western Economic Success: Commerce, Finance, and Government in Pre-Industrial Europe. Manuscript, Dartmouth College, as much as you can, but especially chapters 1, 3, 4, 17, 18, and 19.

Milgrom, Paul, Douglass C. North, and Barry R. Weingast, "The Role of Institutions in the Revival of Trade: the Law Merchant, Private Judges, and the Champagne Fairs," Economics and Politics 2: 1-23 (March 1990).

Avner Greif, “The Birth of Impersonal Exchange: The Community Responsibility System and Impartial Justice,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 20(2): 221–236 (Spring 2006). 

Quinn, Stephen. "The Glorious Revolution of 1688". EH.Net Encyclopedia, edited by Robert Whaples. April 17, 2003.

Randy Alfred, "March 19, 1474: Venice Enacts a Patently Original Idea," Wired.com, March 19, 2008.

Video: The Ascent of Money Episode 1: From Bullion to Bubbles.


5. The guild system.

 Kohn, Chapter 16.

Avner Grief, Paul Milgrom, and Barry Weingast, "Coordination, Commitment, and Enforcement: the Case of the Merchant Guild," Journal of Political Economy 102(4): 745-776 (1994).

Gary Richardson and Michael McBride, "Religion, Longevity, and Cooperation: The Case of the Craft Guild," National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper Series No. 14004 (May 2008).


6. Mercantilism: comparative economic growth.

Cameron and Neal, chapters 5 and 6.

Quinn, Stephen. "The Glorious Revolution of 1688". EH.Net Encyclopedia, edited by Robert Whaples. April 17, 2003.

Douglass C. North and Barry R. Weingast, "The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in 17th Century England," Journal of Economic History 49: 803-32 (1989).

Niall Ferguson, Empire. New York: Basic Books, 2004, chapter 1. 

Video: Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain.


7. The Industrial Revolution.

Cameron and Neal, chapter 7.

Rosenberg and Birdzell, chapter 5.

North, chapter 12.

Joel Mokyr, "Editor's Introduction: The New Economic History and the Industrial Revolution," in Joel Mokyr, ed., The British Industrial Revolution: An Economic Perspective. Boulder: Westview Press, Second Edition, 1999.

Gregory Clark, A Farewell to Alms (Princeton, 2007), chapter 12. (Available as an e-book from the Homer Babbidge Library.)

Joel Mokyr, The Enlightened Economy (Yale 2009), chapters 1 and 15. (ECR)

Video: "The First Industrial Revolution: Perspectives from Before and After," by Professor N.F.R. Crafts, University of Warwick.

Video: "Why Was the Industrial Revolution British?" by Robert Allen, Oxford University.


8. The Factory System.

Rosenberg and Birdzell, chapters 6-9.

Axel Leijonhufvud, "Capitalism and the Factory System," in R. N. Langlois, ed., Economics as a Process: Essays in the New Institutional Economics. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986, pp. 203-223.

Richard N. Langlois, "The Coevolution of Technology and Organization in the Transition to the Factory System," in Paul L. Robertson, ed., Authority and Control in Modern Industry. London: Routledge, 1999.

Video: Industrial Revolution: Spinning Mills.


9. The nineteenth century.

Cameron and Neal, chapters 8-12.

Ferguson, Chapters 3, 4, and 5.

John V. C. Nye, War, Wine, and Taxes: The Political Economy of Anglo-French Trade, 1689-1900. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007, Chapter 1.

Joel Mokyr, The Enlightened Economy (Yale 2009), chapter 8. (ECR)

Video: What Were the Real Penalties of the Early Start?" by Professor N.F.R. Crafts, University of Warwick.




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