@BAllanHansen

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Do It Yourself Video Course on Modern Economic Growth

This is just a bunch of videos and a few papers related to the topic of modern economic growth.

For a long time, the Industrial Revolution was the central concern of economic history. Economic historians attempted to explain why the people in England began to develop new sources of power (the steam engine) and ways to replace human effort with mechanical effort, like the spinning jenny. Marxists, and later institutional economic historians, tended to look earlier for the key changes.

A good place to start is the work of Nicholas Crafts and Robert Allen on the Industrial Revolution
and

Recently, several historians have challenged the evidence of high wages in England, an important element of Allen’s argument
In these videos Jane Humphries presents one of these challenges and, in doing so, provides a great description of an economic historian’s use of primary sources.

Marxist’s have  longargued that the important transition(from feudalism to capitalism) took place before the Industrial Revolution, but they argued with each other about the nature of that transition. See the Dobb-Sweezy Debate and, later, the Brenner Debate (with worlds systems theorists). Unfortunately, I don’t have any good videos on this topic.

Institutionalist, like Doug North (a former Marxist), have also looked for a transformation before the IR.

And after Kenneth Pomeranz published the Great Divergence, many economic historians began to try to identify more precisely when, where and why modern economic growth began.

Stephen Broadberry has done interesting work in terms of both measurement and explanation
The quality of this video is not particularly good Accounting for Divergence but the paper it is based on is very readable.

See also

 Economic historians now have to explain both The Great Divergence, between East and West, but also little divergences within Europe and Asia.

So what explains these divergences. Two popular answers are institutions and ideas. A lot of these arguments are really matters of emphasis. Most of the people listed below are interested in both. 
Despite what Deirdre McCloskey might tell you, I can assure you that Doug thought that ideas and beliefs matter. The first two books I remember him telling me I had to read were Berger and Luckmann’s Social Construction of Reality and Alan MacFarlane’s Origins of English Individualism. 
Sometimes it is not too clear what the difference between ideas and institutions are. Nevertheless, some emphasize one while others emphasize the other.

So here are some videos emphasizing the role of institutions
Douglass North The Natural State
There are a lot of videos of Doug, but this one reflects the work he was doing with Barry Weingast and John Wallis. I also like this interview that Timur Kuran did with him.

This is a short video with Sheilagh Ogilvie. You can also check out this paper with A.W. Carus on Institutions and Economic Growth

See also (parts of some of these may be a little difficult for non-economists to follow, but stick with it and you will get the main ideas)






Here are some emphasizing the role of ideas
Joel Mokyr Culture of Growth

See also
Anton Howes on the Ideology of Innovation from about 15:00 to 35:00

If those don’t work for you maybe you want to consider this


Finally, you could just watch this entire course on World Economic History with Greg Clark

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