- Series: Markets and Governments in Economic History
- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (December 1, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0226014746
- ISBN-13: 978-0226014746
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #332,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The Institutional Revolution: Measurement and the Economic Emergence of the Modern World (Markets and Governments in Economic History) Hardcover – December 1, 2011
|New from||Used from|
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Douglas W. Allen is the Burnaby Mountain Professor of Economics at Simon Fraser University in Canada. He is the author of numerous books, including The Nature of the Farm: Contracts, Risk, and Organization in Agriculture.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Have you ever wondered why dueling got started or ended? Why the detailed rules were set up the way they were? Why seconds were used?
Given my own interest in crime, the discussion on the rise of public police is especially interesting. Who would have thought that so much could be explained by just the standardization of goods? Standardization, with the increased anonymity of exchanges, made it easier to steal.
How about this for an interesting fact: "By 1890, 'only three people in all of England and Wales were sentenced to death for murder committed with a revolver.' All of this was done in the context of private provision of police and justice." (I will just add that this was in an era when gun ownership was very common and there were no gun control laws.) But this is just one example of the fascinating facts that one continually comes across in Allen's book.
One question that I had in reading the discussions for the end of private lighthouses or private law enforcement was how much of this was a desire to create wealth transfers. For example, it is possible that firms turned to public law enforcement to stop theft from their factories and shops because the government was better at doing this job, but could it also be possible that private firms simply wanted someone else (namely taxpayers generally) to pay these costs?
But one verdict is clear, Allen has shown in a fun, very easily understandable way how economics can be applied to problems that most people thought impossible.
The capacity of the digital environment to develop whole new forms of data – as in Big Data, and increasingly ubiquitous sensor technologies are already disrupting many industries and domains of activity. These disruptions will continue to shape new institutions of our society. This book provides great insight into the nature of institutional innovations that will be necessary for the new economy and the fundamentally exponential increases in human capital and productivity. Highly recommended.
This book does two things amazingly well: first, it rediscovers the strangeness of all sorts of pre-19th century institutions, from the way wages were paid to the way judges decided cases to the way the civil service was run to the manners and codes of conduct that governed elite society. Second, it offers an explanation of WHY the institutions behaved as they did--why they were broadly functional, despite their seeming irrationality from a contemporary perspective. The key idea here is that pre-Industrial revolution society had only very poor ways of measuring effort or talent, and so was forced to rely on seemingly cockamamie (but actually quite effective) institutional designs to create proper incentives.
As other commentators have noted, it offers a comprehensive and cogent story that knits-together and illuminates many diverse puzzles. It does so in ordinary English prose, rather than economist-speak. What more can one ask?