WorldCat Identities

Robinson, James A. 1960-

Works: 118 works in 777 publications in 15 languages and 10,784 library holdings
Genres: Case studies  History 
Roles: Author, Editor, Other, Contributor, 080, Author of introduction
Publication Timeline
Most widely held works by James A Robinson
Why nations fail : the origins of power, prosperity, and poverty by Daron Acemoglu( Book )

127 editions published between 2012 and 2017 in 15 languages and held by 3,524 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Why are some nations rich and others poor, divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and famine? Is it culture, the weather, geography, or perhaps ignorance of the right policies? Simply, no. None of these factors is either definitive or destiny. In this book the authors show that it is man-made political and economic institutions that underlie economic success (or lack of it). Based on fifteen years of original research, they marshall historical evidence from the Roman Empire to the Soviet Union, from Korea to Africa, to build a new theory of political economy with great relevance for the big questions of today, including: China has built an authoritarian growth machine. Will it continue to grow at such high speed and overwhelm the West? Is America moving from a virtuous circle, in which efforts by elites to aggrandize power are resisted, to a vicious one that enriches and empowers a small minority? What is the most effective way to help move billions of people from the rut of poverty to prosperity? Is it through more philanthropy from the wealthy nations of the West, or learning lessons on the interplay between inclusive political and economic institutions?
Natural experiments of history by Jared M Diamond( )

22 editions published between 2010 and 2018 in English and Japanese and held by 1,713 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

This book consists of eight comparative studies drawn from history, archeology, economics, economic history, geography, and political science. The studies cover a spectrum of approaches, ranging from a non-quantitative narrative style in the early chapters to quantitative statistical analyses in the later chapters. The studies range from a simple two-way comparison of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which share the island of Hispaniola, to comparisons of 81 Pacific islands and 233 areas of India. The societies discussed are contemporary ones, literate societies of recent centuries, and non-literate past societies. Geographically, they include the United States, Mexico, Brazil, western Europe, tropical Africa, India, Siberia, Australia, New Zealand, and other Pacific islands
Economic origins of dictatorship and democracy by Daron Acemoglu( Book )

38 editions published between 2005 and 2009 in English and held by 1,655 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

The authors develop a framework for analysing the creation and consolidation of democracy. Different social groups prefer different political institutions because of the way they allocate political power and resources. Dictatorship, nevertheless, is not stable when citizens can threaten social disorder and revolution
Why nations fail : the origins of power, prosperity and poverty by Daron Acemoglu( Recording )

8 editions published in 2012 in English and held by 349 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Why are some nations more prosperous than others? "Why Nations Fail" sets out to answer this question, with a compelling and elegantly argued new theory: that it is not down to climate, geography or culture, but because of institutions. Drawing from an extraordinary range of contemporary and historical examples, academics Acemoglu and Robinson argue that nations can only prosper if the people are allowed to keep the wealth that they earn
The role of elites in economic development by Alice H Amsden( )

19 editions published between 2012 and 2014 in English and held by 349 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Elites have a disproportionate impact on development outcomes. While a country's endowments constitute the deep determinates of growth, the trajectory they follow is shaped by the actions of elites. But what factors affect whether elites use their influence for individual gain or national welfare? To what extent do they see poverty as a problem? And are their actions today constrained by institutions and norms established in the past? This volume looks at case studies from South Africa to China to seek a better understanding of the dynamics behind how elites decide to engage with economic development. Approaches include economic modelling, social surveys, theoretical analysis, and program evaluation. These different methods explore the relationship between elites and development outcomes from five angles: the participation and reaction of elites to institutional creation and change, how economic changes affect elite formation and circulation, elite perceptions of national welfare, the extent to which state capacity is part of elite self-identity, and how elites interact with non-elites
Africa's development in historical perspective( Book )

5 editions published in 2014 in English and held by 237 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

This edited volume addresses the root causes of Africa's persistent poverty through an investigation of its longue duree history
Economic backwardness in political perspective by Daron Acemoglu( Book )

20 editions published in 2002 in English and held by 115 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

We construct a simple model where political elites may block technological and institutional development, because of a "political replacement effect." Innovations often erode elites' incumbency advantage, increasing the likelihood that they will be replaced. Fearing replacement, political elites are unwilling to initiate change, and may even block economic development. We show that elites are unlikely to block development when there is a high degree of political competition, or when they are highly entrenched. It is only when political competition is limited and also their power is threatened that elites will block development. We also show that such blocking is more likely to arise when political stakes are higher, and that external threats may reduce the incentives to block. We argue that this model provides an interpretation for why Britain, Germany and the U.S. industrialized during the nineteenth century, while the landed aristocracy in Russia and Austria-Hungary blocked development. Keywords: Political Economy, Institutions, Development, Industrialization. JEL Classification: H2, N10, N40, O1, O3, O4
Kleptocracy and divide-and-rule : a model of personal rule by Daron Acemoglu( Book )

19 editions published in 2003 in English and held by 108 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Many developing countries have suffered under the personal rule of kleptocrats', who implement highly inefficient economic policies, expropriate the wealth of their citizens, and use the proceeds for their own glorification or consumption. We argue that the success of kleptocrats rests, in part, on their ability to use a divide-and-rule' strategy, made possible by weaknesses in the institutions in these societies. Members of society need to cooperate in order to depose a kleptocrat, yet such cooperation may be defused by imposing punitive rates of taxation on any citizen who proposes such a move, and redistributing the benefits to those who need to agree to it. Thus the collective action problem can be intensified by threats which remain off the equilibrium path. In equilibrium, all are exploited and no one challenges the kleptocrat. Kleptocratic policies are more likely when foreign aid and rents from natural resources provide rulers with substantial resources to buy off opponents; when opposition groups are shortsighted; when the average productivity in the economy is low; and when there is greater inequality between producer groups (because more productive groups are more difficult to buy off)
The rise of Europe : Atlantic trade, institutional change and economic growth by Daron Acemoglu( Book )

17 editions published between 2002 and 2003 in English and held by 108 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

This paper documents that the Rise of (Western) Europe between 1500 and 1850 is largely accounted for by the growth of European nations with access to the Atlantic, and especially by those nations that engaged in colonialism and long distance oceanic trade. Moreover, Atlantic ports grew much faster than other West European cities, including Mediterranean ports. Atlantic trade and colonialism affected Europe both directly, and indirectly by inducing institutional changes. In particular, the growth of New World, African, and Asian trade after 1500 strengthened new segments of the commercial bourgeoisie, and enabled these groups to demand, obtain, and sustain changes in institutions to protect their property rights. Furthermore, the most significant institutional changes and consequently the most substantial economic gains occurred in nations where existing institutions placed some checks on the monarchy and particularly limited its control of overseas trading activities, thus enabling new merchants in these countries to benefit from Atlantic trade. Therefore, the Rise of Europe was largely the result of capitalist development driven by the interaction of late medieval institutions and the economic opportunities offered by "Atlantic trade." Keywords: Capitalism, Economic Growth, Institutions, Political Economy, Social Conflict, Trade. JEL Classifications: O10, F10, P10, N13
Reversal of fortune : geography and institutions in the making of the modern world income distribution by Daron Acemoglu( Book )

14 editions published in 2001 in English and held by 100 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Among countries colonized by European powers during the past 500 years those that were relatively rich in 1500 are now relatively poor. We document this reversal using data on urbanization patterns and population density, which, we argue, proxy for economic prosperity. This reversal is inconsistent with a view that links economic development to geographic factors. According to the geography view, societies that were relatively rich in 1500 should also be relatively rich today. In contrast, the reversal is consistent with the role of institutions in economic development. The expansion of European overseas empires starting in the 15th century led to a major change in the institutions of the societies they colonized. In fact, the European intervention appears to have created an 'institutional reversal' among these societies, in the sense that Europeans were more likely to introduce institutions encouraging investment in regions that were previously poor. This institutional reversal accounts for the reversal in relative incomes. We provide further support for this view by documenting that the reversal in relative incomes took place during the 19th century, and resulted from societies with good institutions taking advantage of industrialization opportunities
A political economy theory of the soft budget constraint by James A Robinson( )

16 editions published between 2005 and 2006 in English and held by 94 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Why do soft budget constraints exist and persist? In this paper we argue that the prevalence of soft budget constraints can be best explained by the political desirability of softness. We develop a political economy model where politicians cannot commit to policies that are not ex post optimal. We show that because of the dynamic commitment problem inherent in the soft budget constraint, politicians can in essence commit to make transfers to entrepreneurs which otherwise they would not be able to do. This encourages such entrepreneurs to vote for them. Though the soft budget constraint may induce economic inefficiency, it may be politically rational because it influences the outcomes of elections. In consequence, even when information is complete, politicians may fund bad projects which they anticipate they will have to bail out in the future
Land and power : theory and evidence from Chile by Jean-Marie Baland( )

15 editions published between 2003 and 2006 in English and held by 92 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

We study the connection between employment and political control. Many employment relationships concede rents to workers. For example, when worker effort is crucial for production, but only imperfectly observed. We show that, depending on the political institutions, the presence of such rents allows employers to use the threat of withdrawing them to control their workers' political behavior. We thus demonstrate that employment does not simply generate income, it also gives power to control the behavior of others. The analysis focuses on the salient example of political control, where landlords coerce the votes of their workers in the absence of a secret ballot. The model we develop generates predictions about electoral outcomes which can be tested by investigating the impact of the introduction of an effective secret ballot. Such an institutional reform reduces landlords' control, and in consequence, we should observe changes in voting behavior, since workers whose votes were previously controlled and sold can now vote freely. We test the predictions of the model by examining in detail the effects of the introduction of the secret ballot in Chile in 1958. We show that, consistent with our theory, the political reforms led to large changes in voting behavior. Before the reforms, localities with more pervasive patron-client relationships tend to exhibit a much stronger support for the right-wing parties, traditionally associated with the landed oligarchy. After the reform however, this difference across localities completely disappeared
When is democracy an equilibrium? : theory and evidence from Colombia's "La Violencia" by Mario Chacon( )

13 editions published in 2006 in English and held by 80 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

The conventional wisdom in political science is that for a democracy to be consolidated, all groups must have a chance to attain power. If they do not then they will subvert democracy and choose to fight for power. In this paper we show that this wisdom is seriously incomplete because it considers absolute, not relative payoffs. Although the probability of winning an election increases with the size of a group, so does the probability of winning a fight. Thus in a situation where all groups have a high chance of winning an election, they may also have a high chance of winning a fight. Indeed, in a natural model, we show that democracy may never be consolidated in such a situation. Rather, democracy may only be stable when one group is dominant. We provide a test of a key aspect of our model using data from "La Violencia", a political conflict in Colombia during the years 1946-1950 between the Liberal and Conservative parties. Consistent with our results, and contrary to the conventional wisdom, we show that fighting between the parties was more intense in municipalities where the support of the parties was more evenly balanced
Political conflict and power-sharing in the origins of modern Colombia by Sebastián Mazzuca( )

15 editions published in 2006 in English and held by 80 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

In this paper we present historical evidence and a theoretical analysis of the origins of political stability and instability in Colombia for the period 1850-1950, and their relationship to political, particularly electoral, institutions. We show that the driving force behind institutional change over this period, specifically the move to proportional representation (PR), was the desire of the Conservative and Liberal parties to come up with a way of credibly dividing power to avoid civil war and conflict, a force intensified by the brutal conflict of the War of a Thousand days between 1899 and 1902. The problem with majoritarian electoral institutions was that they did not allocate power in a way which matched the support of the parties in the population, thus encouraging conflict. The strategic advantage of PR was that it avoided such under-representation. The parties however could not initially move to PR because it was not 'sfraud proof' so instead, in 1905, adopted the "incomplete vote" which simply allocated 2/3 of the legislative seats to the winning party and 1/3 to the loser. This formula brought peace. The switch to PR arose when the Liberals became confident that they could solve problems of fraud. But it only happened because they were able to exploit a division within the Conservatives. The switch also possibly reflected a concern with the rising support for socialism and the desire to divide power more broadly. Our findings shed new light on the origins of electoral systems and the nature of political conflict and its resolution
Persistence of power, elites and institutions by Daron Acemoglu( )

5 editions published in 2006 in English and held by 68 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Abstract: We construct a model of simultaneous change and persistence in institutions. The model consists of landowning elites and workers, and the key economic decision concerns the form of economic institutions regulating the transaction of labor (e.g., competitive markets versus labor repression). The main idea is that equilibrium economic institutions are a result of the exercise of de jure and de facto political power. A change in political institutions, for example a move from nondemocracy to democracy, alters the distribution of de jure political power, but the elite can intensify their investments in de facto political power, such as lobbying or the use of paramilitary forces, to partially or fully offset their loss of de jure power. In the baseline model, equilibrium changes in political institutions have no effect on the (stochastic) equilibrium distribution of economic institutions, leading to a particular form of persistence in equilibrium institutions, which we refer to as invariance. When the model is enriched to allow for limits on the exercise of de facto power by the elite in democracy or for costs of changing economic institutions, the equilibrium takes the form of a Markov regime-switching process with state dependence. Finally, when we allow for the possibility that changing political institutions is more difficult than altering economic institutions, the model leads to a pattern of captured democracy, whereby a democratic regime may survive, but choose economic institutions favoring the elite. The main ideas featuring in the model are illustrated using historical examples from the U.S. South, Latin America and Liberia
Endogenous presidentialism by James A Robinson( )

9 editions published in 2008 in English and held by 62 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

We develop a model to understand the incidence of presidential and parliamentary institutions. Our analysis is predicated on two ideas: first, that minorities are relatively powerful in a parliamentary system compared to a presidential system, and second, that presidents have more power with respect to their own coalition than prime ministers do. These assumptions imply that while presidentialism has separation of powers, it does not necessarily have more checks and balances than parliamentarism. We show that presidentialism implies greater rent extraction and lower provision of public goods than parliamentarism. Moreover, political leaders prefer presidentialism and they may be supported by their own coalition if they fear losing agenda setting power to another group. We argue that the model is consistent with a great deal of qualitative information about presidentialism in Africa and Latin America
The myth of the frontier by Camilo García Jimeno( )

8 editions published in 2009 in English and held by 61 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

One of the most salient explanations for the distinctive path of economic and political development of the United States is captured by the 'Frontier (or Turner) thesis'. Turner argued that it was the presence of the open frontier which explained why the United States became democratic and, at least implicitly, prosperous. In this paper we provide a simple test of this idea. We begin with the contradictory observation that almost every Latin American country had a frontier in the 19th century as well. We show that while the data does not support the Frontier thesis, it is consistent with a more complex 'conditional Frontier thesis.' In this view, the effect of the frontier is conditional on the way that the frontier was allocated and this in turn depends on political institutions at the time of frontier expansion. We show that for countries with the worst political institutions, there is a negative correlation between the historical extent of the frontier and contemporary income per-capita. For countries with better political institutions this correlation is positive. Though the effect of the frontier on democracy is positive irrespective of initial political institutions, it is larger the better were these institutions. In essence, Turner saw the frontier as having positive effects on development because he already lived in a country with good institutions
The real swing voter's curse by James A Robinson( )

8 editions published in 2009 in English and held by 61 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

A key idea in political economy is that policy is often tailored to voters who are not ideologically attached - swing voters. We show, however, that in political environments where political parties can use repression and violence to exclude voters from elections, they may optimally target the swing voters. This is because they anticipate that if they had to compete for the support of these voters, they would end up giving them a lot of policy favors. Hence in weakly institutionalized political environments swing voters are cursed rather than blessed. We illustrate the analysis with a discussion of recent political events in Zimbabwe
He who counts elects : determinants of fraud in the 1922 Colombian presidential election by Isaías N Chaves( )

8 editions published in 2009 in English and held by 60 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

This paper constructs measures of the extent of ballot stuffing (fraudulent votes) and electoral coercion at the municipal level using data from Colombia's 1922 Presidential elections. Our main findings are that the presence of the state reduced the extent of ballot stuffing, but that of the clergy, which was closely imbricated in partisan politics, increased coercion. We also show that landed elites to some extent substituted for the absence of the state and managed to reduce the extent of fraud where they were strong. At the same time, in places which were completely out of the sphere of the state, and thus partisan politics, both ballot stuffing and coercion were relatively low. Thus the relationship between state presence and fraud is not monotonic
Institutions as the fundamental cause of long-run growth by Daron Acemoglu( Book )

9 editions published in 2004 in English and held by 60 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

This paper develops the empirical and theoretical case that differences in economic institutions are the fundamental cause of differences in economic development. We first document the empirical importance of institutions by focusing on two 'quasi-natural experiments' in history, the division of Korea into two parts with very different economic institutions and the colonization of much of the world by European powers starting in the fifteenth century. We then develop the basic outline of a framework for thinking about why economic institutions differ across countries. Economic institutions determine the incentives of and the constraints on economic actors, and shape economic outcomes. As such, they are social decisions, chosen for their consequences. Because different groups and individuals typically benefit from different economic institutions, there is generally a conflict over these social choices, ultimately resolved in favor of groups with greater political power. The distribution of political power in society is in turn determined by political institutions and the distribution of resources. Political institutions allocate de jure political power, while groups with greater economic might typically possess greater de facto political power. We therefore view the appropriate theoretical framework as a dynamic one with political institutions and the distribution of resources as the state variables. These variables themselves change over time because prevailing economic institutions affect the distribution of resources, and because groups with de facto political power today strive to change political institutions in order to increase their de jure political power in the future. Economic institutions encouraging economic growth emerge when political institutions allocate power to groups with interests in broad-based property rights enforcement, when they create effective constraints on power-holders, and when there are relatively few rents to be captured
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Why nations fail : the origins of power, prosperity, and poverty
Natural experiments of historyEconomic origins of dictatorship and democracy
Alternative Names
James A. Robinson britischer Ökonom und Politologe

James A. Robinson économiste américain

James A. Robinson économiste britannique

James A. Robinson (Harvard University) Amerikaans politicoloog

Robinson, J. A. 1960-

Robinson, James.

Robinson, James 1960-

Robinson, James A.

Robinson, James Alan, 1960-

Robinson, Jim 1960-

Robinson, Jim Alan 1960-

Джеймс А. Робінсон

Робинсон, Джеймс

ジェイムズ・A・ロビンソン アメリカの政治学者、経済学者

ロビンソン, ジェイムズ・A.