Catalogue

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The institutional revolution : measurement and the economic emergence of the modern world /
Douglas W. Allen.
imprint
Chicago ; London : University of Chicago Press, 2012.
description
xiv, 267 p.
ISBN
0226014746 (hardcover : alk. paper), 9780226014746 (hardcover : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Chicago ; London : University of Chicago Press, 2012.
isbn
0226014746 (hardcover : alk. paper)
9780226014746 (hardcover : alk. paper)
contents note
Introduction -- Variance everywhere -- The aristocrats -- A matter of honor -- The royal navy -- Purchasing army commissions -- Lighthouses, private roads, and the treasury -- The courts, criminal law, and police -- Conclusion.
catalogue key
7934372
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2012-06-01:
Allen (economics, Simon Fraser Univ., Canada) has produced a very unusual history book. Early modern historians may be frustrated by the historical naivete, yet this author's fresh look at a complex period of European history yields truly remarkable results. Allen's thesis is that the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries was made possible and augmented by an equally impressive revolution in institutions that facilitated adequate and rapid measurement and quantification of performance. This ability to measure and quantify led to the reduction in the variability of outcomes by nature. Allen argues that institutions develop to maximize the wealth of those involved, but as conditions change, so must institutions. He convincingly moves the origins of the Industrial Revolution solely from technology to a collaborative change in technology and institutional factors (e.g., police protection or labor measurement), which reduced the role of nature in production. Allen's thesis helps to explain why providing technology or money to contemporary underdeveloped countries will not solve their problems. This conclusion can be enlightening for historians of early modern Europe or of the Industrial Revolution as well as for modern world economists. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduate through professional collections. J. J. Butt James Madison University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Douglas W. Allen has written a brilliant and challenging book that puts the measurement problem in the foreground to convincingly explain the logic of premodern institutionsinstitutions that the typical modern person, until reading Allen, views as the embodiment of chaos, inefficiency, corruption, and ineptitude. The Institutional Revolution contains a wealth of historical information that anyone with an interest in history will find interesting and often delightful."
"Douglas W. Allen has written a brilliant and challenging book that puts the measurement problem in the foreground to convincingly explain the logic of premodern institutionsinstitutions that the typical modern person, until reading Allen, views as the embodiment of chaos, inefficiency, corruption, and ineptitude. The Institutional Revolution contains a wealth of historical information that anyone with an interest in history will find interesting and often delightful."Thrainn Eggertsson,New York University
"Douglas W. Allen has written a brilliant and challenging book that puts the measurement problem in the foreground to convincingly explain the logic of premodern institutions-institutions that the typical modern person, until reading Allen, views as the embodiment of chaos, inefficiency, corruption, and ineptitude. The Institutional Revolution contains a wealth of historical information that anyone with an interest in history will find interesting and often delightful."-ThrÁinn Eggertsson, New York University
“Douglas W. Allen has written a brilliant and challenging book that puts the measurement problem in the foreground to convincingly explain the logic of premodern institutions-institutions that the typical modern person, until reading Allen, views as the embodiment of chaos, inefficiency, corruption, and ineptitude. The Institutional Revolution contains a wealth of historical information that anyone with an interest in history will find interesting and often delightful.”-Thr inn Eggertsson, New York University
"In 1910, J. H. Clapham memorably described the industrial revolution as a 'thrice squeezed orange.' Yet writing more than a century later, Douglas W. Allen has written a brilliant and enjoyable book that shows there is still plenty of juice left in this orange. With The Institutional Revolution , Allen provides a stimulating microeconomic reinterpretation of English economic development in the period between 1780 and 1850. The range of reading, the quality of the analysis, the elegance of the writing, and the lightness of touch displayed by Allen are all extremely impressive."
"I thoroughly enjoyed this excellent book."
“I thoroughly enjoyed this excellent book.”-Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution
“This is a very important book that increases understanding of how changes in measurement and institutions can increase trade and welfare. Allen uses economic logic to show that quaint premodern institutions-including the social rules of the old aristocracy, and the practice of dueling-aligned incentives at a time when variance in outcomes due to the enormous effects of nature could not easily be separated from those due to human behavior. Especially interesting is his insight into how the industrial and institutional revolutions in Britain developed interactively. This wonderful book sets the groundwork for further essential investigation into the micro foundations of specific institutional changes and economic growth, topics that are at the forefront of modern efforts to increase welfare.”-Gary D. Libecap, University of California, Santa Barbara
"What are the connections among aristocrats, duels, private lighthouses and private police forces in the conduct of early modern economies? Douglas W. Allen in The Institutional Revolution brings together a whole series of customs and behaviors we now associate with irrational premodern practices and shows the part they played as informal institutions to ensure the provision of civil service goods before the nineteenth century."
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, June 2012
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Traces the dramatic shift seen during the Industrial Revolution in 18th & 19th century Britain from social institutions based on patronage, purchase & personal ties to a new order based on standardization, merit & wage labour.
Main Description
Few events in the history of humanity rival the Industrial Revolution. Following its onset in eighteenth-century Britain, sweeping changes in agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, and technology began to gain unstoppable momentum throughout Europe, North America, and eventually much of the world, with profound effects on socioeconomic and cultural conditions. In The Institutional Revolution, Douglas W. Allen offers a carefully researched and thought-provoking account of how dramatic changes in institutions-the formal and informal rules that govern a society-resulted from the unprecedented economic development that took place during the Industrial Revolution. Fundamental to these changes were the many significant improvements in the ability to measure performance-whether of government officials, laborers, or naval officers-thereby reducing the amount of variance in daily affairs. Offering fascinating insight into how institutions address the cost of monitoring others, Allen provides readers along the way with an understanding of the critical roles of seemingly bizarre institutions, from dueling to the purchase of one’s rank in the British Army. Engagingly written, The Institutional Revolution traces the dramatic shift from premodern institutions based on patronage, purchase, and personal ties toward modern institutions based on standardization, merit, and wage labor.
Main Description
Few events in the history of humanity rival the Industrial Revolution. Following its onset in eighteenth-century Britain, sweeping changes in agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, and technology began to gain unstoppable momentum throughout Europe, North America, and eventually much of the world-with profound effects on socioeconomic and cultural conditions. In The Institutional Revolution, Douglas W. Allen offers a thought-provoking account of another, quieter revolution that took place at the end of the eighteenth century and allowed for the full exploitation of the many new technological innovations. Fundamental to this shift were dramatic changes in institutions, or the rules that govern society, which reflected significant improvements in the ability to measure performance-whether of government officials, laborers, or naval officers-thereby reducing the role of nature and the hazards of variance in daily affairs. Along the way, Allen provides readers with a fascinating explanation of the critical roles played by seemingly bizarre institutions, from dueling to the purchase of one's rank in the British Army. Engagingly written, The Institutional Revolution traces the dramatic shift from premodern institutions based on patronage, purchase, and personal ties toward modern institutions based on standardization, merit, and wage labor-a shift which was crucial to the explosive economic growth of the Industrial Revolution.
Main Description
Few events in the history of humanity rival the Industrial Revolution. Following its onset in eighteenth-century Britain, sweeping changes in agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, and technology began to gain unstoppable momentum throughout Europe, North America, and eventually much of the world-with profound effects on socioeconomic and cultural conditions. In The Institutional Revolution, Douglas W. Allen offers a thought-provoking account of another, quieter revolution that took place at the end of the eighteenth century and allowed for the full exploitation of the many new technological innovations. Fundamental to this shift were dramatic changes in institutions, or the rules that govern society, which reflected significant improvements in the ability to measure performance-whether of government officials, laborers, or naval officers-thereby reducing the role of nature and the hazards of variance in daily affairs. Along the way, Allen provides readers with a fascinating explanation of the critical roles played by seemingly bizarre institutions, from dueling to the purchase of one’s rank in the British Army. Engagingly written, The Institutional Revolution traces the dramatic shift from premodern institutions based on patronage, purchase, and personal ties toward modern institutions based on standardization, merit, and wage labor-a shift which was crucial to the explosive economic growth of the Industrial Revolution.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. ix
Introduction
Variance Everywherep. 22
The Aristocratsp. 44
A Matter of Honorp. 80
The Royal Navyp. 106
Purchasing Army Commissionsp. 146
Lighthouses, Private Roads, and the Treasuryp. 172
The Courts, Criminal Law, and Policep. 191
Conclusionp. 217
Notesp. 229
Bibliographyp. 251
Indexp. 263
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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