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Economic Performance through Time/Nobel Lectures, Economics 1991-1995, World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore

Опубликовано на портале: 22-03-2004
Изд-во: World Scientific Publishing Company, 1997, 280 с.
Данная публикация представляет нобелевскую лекцию американского экономиста Дагласа Сесила Норта по случаю получения им в 1993 году премии памяти Альфреда Нобеля по экономике за исследования в области экономической истории с применением экономической теории для объяснения экономических и институциональных изменений. В лекции автор попытается кратко описать все свои достижения в области экономической истории и подвести итог своим исследованиям в ней. Материал изложен простым английским языком и находится в открытом доступе на официальном сайте "Премии".

Economic history is about the performance of economies through time. The objective of research in the field is not only to shed new light on the economic past but also to contribute to economic theory by providing an analytical framework that will enable us to understand economic change. A theory of economic dynamics comparable in precision to general equilibrium theory would be the ideal tool of analysis. In the absence of such a theory we can describe the characteristics of past economies, examine the performance of economies at various times, and engage in comparative static analysis; but missing is an analytical understanding of the way economies evolve through time.

A theory of economic dynamics is also crucial for the field of economic development. There is no mystery why the field of development has failed to develop during the five decades since the end of the second World War. Neo-classical theory is simply an inappropriate tool to analyze and prescribe policies that will induce development. It is concerned with the operation of markets, not with how markets develop. How can one prescribe policies when one doesn't understand how economies develop? The very methods employed by neo-classical economists have dictated the subject matter and militated against such a development. That theory in the pristine form that gave it mathematical precision and elegance modeled a frictionless and static world. When applied to economic history and development it focused on technological development and more recently human capital investment, but ignored the incentive structure embodied in institutions that determined the extent of societal investment in those factors. In the analysis of economic performance through time it contained two erroneous assumptions: one that institutions do not matter and two that time does not matter.

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