Year of Graduation
Institutions and Culture as Sources of Economic Development: a Comparative Analysis of Modern Approaches
In this paper, we address the methodological problem that occurs in the modern literature, devoted to the study of reasons for economic development in long historical terms. There is a traditional way of conceptualizing possible social factors of development through the concepts of institutions and culture. However, the distinctions of these terms, their definitions and interrelations vary in different works. It leads to the question if there are any serious theoretical discrepancies between different authors or it is possible to unite them into one theoretical field. In the paper, we examine texts of Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, Douglass North with his co-authors, Avner Greif, Deepak Lal, Joel Mokyr and Deirdre McCloskey. We find that there is one major ontological discrepancy, dividing the examined literature into two parts. The first part, represented by works of Acemoglu and Robinson, North, Greif and Lal, is based on the Hobbesian model of a human and offers a deterministic understanding of social dynamics through the social conflict model. In the second part, represented by works of Mokyr and McCloskey, agents are able not only to pursue their interests in accordance with the social conflict model but also to create, spread and follow ideas. It becomes an internal social source of uncertainty that destroys the deterministic character of social dynamics.