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Under the thumb of history? : political institutions and the scope for action

Author: Abhijit V Banerjee; Esther Duflo; National Bureau of Economic Research.
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : National Bureau of Economic Research, 2014.
Series: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 19848.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
This paper discusses the two leading views of history and political institutions. For some scholars, institutions are mainly products of historical logic, while for others, accidents, leaders, and decisions have a significant impact. We argue that while there is clear evidence that history matters and has long-term effects, there is not enough data to help us distinguish between the two views. Faced with this  Read more...
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Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Abhijit V Banerjee; Esther Duflo; National Bureau of Economic Research.
OCLC Number: 870305579
Notes: Title from http://www.nber.org/papers/19848 viewed February 11, 2014.
"January 2014."
Description: 1 online resource ([41] pages).
Series Title: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 19848.
Responsibility: Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo.

Abstract:

This paper discusses the two leading views of history and political institutions. For some scholars, institutions are mainly products of historical logic, while for others, accidents, leaders, and decisions have a significant impact. We argue that while there is clear evidence that history matters and has long-term effects, there is not enough data to help us distinguish between the two views. Faced with this uncertainty, what is a social scientist to do? We argue that given the possibility that policy decisions indeed make a difference, it makes sense to assume they do and to try to improve policymaking.

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