path-dependence   66

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King Kong and Cold Fusion: Counterfactual analysis and the History of Technology
How “contingent” is technological history? Relying on models from evolutionary epistemology, I argue for an analogy with Darwinian Biology and thus a much greater degree of contingency than is normally supposed. There are three levels of contingency in technological development. The crucial driving force behind technology is what I call S-knowledge, that is, an understanding of the exploitable regularities of nature (which includes “science” as a subset). The development of techniques depend on the existence of epistemic bases in S. The “inevitability” of technology thus depends crucially on whether we condition it on the existence of the appropriate S-knowledge. Secondly, even if this knowledge emerges, there is nothing automatic about it being transformed into a technique that is, a set of instructions that transforms knowledge into production. Third, even if the techniques are proposed, there is selection which reflects the preferences and biases of an economy and injects another level of indeterminacy and contingency into the technological history of nations.
Moslem conquest of Europe, or a Mongol conquest, or a post-1492 epidemic, or a victory of the counter-reformation would have prevented the Industrial Revolution (Joel Mokyr)
pdf  study  essay  economics  growth-econ  broad-econ  microfoundations  history  medieval  early-modern  industrial-revolution  divergence  volo-avolo  random  mokyr-allen-mccloskey  wealth-of-nations  europe  the-great-west-whale  occident  path-dependence  roots  knowledge  technology  society  multi  twitter  social  commentary  backup  conquest-empire  war  islam  MENA  disease  parasites-microbiome  counterfactual  age-of-discovery  enlightenment-renaissance-restoration-reformation  usa  scitariat  gnon  degrees-of-freedom 
november 2017 by nhaliday
Why Civil and Criminal Procedure Are So Different: A Forgotten History by Ion Meyn :: SSRN
Much has been written about the origins of civil procedure. Yet little is known about the origins of criminal procedure, even though it governs how millions of cases in federal and state courts are litigated each year. This Article’s examination of criminal procedure’s origin story questions the prevailing notion that civil and criminal procedure require different treatment. The Article’s starting point is the first draft of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure — confidential in 1941 and since forgotten. The draft reveals that reformers of criminal procedure turned to the new rules of civil procedure for guidance. The contents of this draft shed light on an extraordinary moment: reformers initially proposed that all litigation in the United States, civil and criminal, be governed by a unified procedural code. The implementation of this original vision of a unified code would have had dramatic implications for how criminal law is practiced and perceived today. The advisory committee’s final product in 1944, however, set criminal litigation on a very different course. Transcripts of the committee’s initial meetings reveal that the final code of criminal procedure emerged from the clash of ideas presented by two committee members, James Robinson and Alexander Holtzoff. Holtzoff’s traditional views would ultimately persuade other members, cleaving criminal procedure from civil procedure.

Since then, differences in civil and criminal litigation have become entrenched and normalized. Yet, at the time the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure were drafted, a unified code was not just a plausible alternative but the only proposal. The draft’s challenge to the prevailing notion that civil and criminal wrongs inherently require different procedural treatment is a critical contribution to the growing debate over whether the absence of discovery in criminal procedure is justified in light of discovery tools afforded by civil procedure. The first draft of criminal procedure, which called for uniform rules to govern proceedings in all civil and criminal courtrooms, suggests the possibility that current resistance to unification is, to a significant degree, historically contingent.
Criminal-procedure  Legal-history  Path-dependence  Civil-procedure 
november 2017 by quant18
Politics with Hidden Bases: Unearthing the Deep Roots of Party Systems
The research presented here uses a novel method to show that contemporary party systems may originate much further back than is usually assumed or might be expected—in reality many centuries. Using data on Ireland, a country with a political system that poses significant challenges to the universality of many political science theories, by identifying the ancestry of current party elites we find ethnic bases for the Irish party system arising from population movements that took place from the 12th century. Extensive Irish genealogical knowledge allows us to use surnames as a proxy for ethnic origin. Recent genetic analyses of Irish surnames corroborate Irish genealogical information. The results are particularly compelling given that Ireland is an extremely homogeneous society and therefore provides a tough case for our approach.
pdf  study  broad-econ  polisci  sociology  politics  government  correlation  path-dependence  cliometrics  anglo  britain  history  mostly-modern  time-series  pro-rata  distribution  demographics  coalitions  pop-structure  branches  hari-seldon 
november 2017 by nhaliday
Climate Risk, Cooperation, and the Co-Evolution of Culture and Institutions∗
We test this hypothesis for Europe combining high-resolution climate data for the period 1500-2000 with survey data at the sub-national level. We find that regions with higher inter-annual variability in precipitation and temperature display higher levels of trust. This effect is driven by variability in the growing season months, and by historical rather than recent variability. Regarding possible mechanisms, we show that regions with more variable climate were more closely connected to the Medieval trade network, indicating a higher propensity to engage in inter-community exchange. We also find that these regions were more likely to adopt participatory political institutions earlier on, and are characterized by a higher quality of local governments still today. Our results suggest that, by favoring the emergence of mutually-reinforcing norms and institutions, exposure to environmental risk had a long-lasting impact on human cooperation.
pdf  study  broad-econ  economics  cliometrics  path-dependence  growth-econ  political-econ  institutions  government  social-norms  culture  cultural-dynamics  correlation  history  early-modern  mostly-modern  values  poll  trust  n-factor  cooperate-defect  cohesion  democracy  environment  europe  the-great-west-whale  geography  trade  network-structure  general-survey  outcome-risk  uncertainty  branches  microfoundations  hari-seldon 
november 2017 by nhaliday
Frontier Culture: The Roots and Persistence of “Rugged Individualism” in the United States∗
In a classic 1893 essay, Frederick Jackson Turner argued that the American frontier promoted individualism. We revisit the Frontier Thesis and examine its relevance at the subnational level. Using Census data and GIS techniques, we track the frontier throughout the 1790–1890 period and construct a novel, county-level measure of historical frontier experience. We document the distinctive demographics of frontier locations during this period—disproportionately male, prime-age adult, foreign-born, and illiterate—as well as their higher levels of individualism, proxied by the share of infrequent names among children. Many decades after the closing of the frontier, counties with longer historical frontier experience exhibit more prevalent individualism and opposition to redistribution and regulation. We take several steps towards a causal interpretation, including an instrumental variables approach that exploits variation in the speed of westward expansion induced by prior national immigration in- flows. Using linked historical Census data, we identify mechanisms giving rise to a persistent frontier culture. Greater individualism on the frontier was not driven solely by selective migration, suggesting that frontier conditions may have shaped behavior and values. We provide evidence suggesting that rugged individualism may be rooted in its adaptive advantage on the frontier and the opportunities for upward mobility through effort.

The Origins of Cultural Divergence: Evidence from a Developing Country.:
Cultural norms diverge substantially across societies, often even within the same country. In this paper, we test the voluntary settlement hypothesis, proposing that individualistic people tend to self-select into migrating out of reach from collectivist states towards the periphery and that such patterns of historical migration are reflected even in the contemporary distribution of norms. For more than one thousand years during the first millennium CE, northern Vietnam was under an exogenously imposed Chinese rule. From the eleventh to the eighteenth centuries, ancient Vietnam gradually expanded its territory through various waves of southward conquest. We demonstrate that areas being annexed earlier into ancient Vietnam are nowadays more (less) prone to collectivist (individualist) culture. We argue that the southward out-migration of individualist people was the main mechanism behind this finding. The result is consistent across various measures obtained from an extensive household survey and robust to various control variables as well as to different empirical specifications, including an instrumental variable estimation. A lab-in-the-field experiment also confirms the finding.
pdf  study  economics  broad-econ  cliometrics  path-dependence  evidence-based  empirical  stylized-facts  values  culture  cultural-dynamics  anthropology  usa  frontier  allodium  the-west  correlation  individualism-collectivism  measurement  politics  ideology  expression-survival  redistribution  regulation  political-econ  government  migration  history  early-modern  pre-ww2  things  phalanges  🎩  selection  polisci  roots  multi  twitter  social  commentary  scitariat  backup  gnon  growth-econ  medieval  china  asia  developing-world  shift  natural-experiment  endo-exo  endogenous-exogenous  hari-seldon 
october 2017 by nhaliday
Autocratic Rule and Social Capital: Evidence from Imperial China by Melanie Meng Xue, Mark Koyama :: SSRN
This paper studies how autocratic rule affects social capital. Between 1660-1788, individuals in imperial China were persecuted if they were suspected of holding subversive attitudes towards the state. A difference-in-differences approach suggests that these persecutions led to a decline of 38% in social capital, as measured by the number of charitable organizations, in each subsequent decade. Investigating the long-run effect of autocratic rule, we show that persecutions are associated with lower levels of trust, political engagement, and the under provision of local public goods. These results indicate a possible vicious cycle in which autocratic rule becomes self-reinforcing through a permanent decline in social capital.
study  economics  broad-econ  econotariat  history  early-modern  growth-econ  authoritarianism  antidemos  china  asia  sinosphere  orient  n-factor  social-capital  individualism-collectivism  charity  cliometrics  trust  cohesion  political-econ  polisci  public-goodish  correlation  intervention  unintended-consequences  iteration-recursion  cycles  effect-size  path-dependence  🎩  leviathan  endogenous-exogenous  control  branches  pseudoE  slippery-slope  counter-revolution  nascent-state  microfoundations  explanans  the-great-west-whale  occident  madisonian  hari-seldon  law  egalitarianism-hierarchy  local-global  decentralized  the-watchers  noblesse-oblige  benevolence 
september 2017 by nhaliday
The Long-Run Weight of Communism or the Weight of LongRun History?
This study provides evidence that culture understood as values and beliefs moves very slowly. Despite massive institutional change, values and beliefs in transition countries have not changed much over the last 20 years. Evidence suggests that culture is affected by the long run historical past, in particular the participation in empires for over 100 years. Current institutional evolutions in transition countries might be more affected by their long run past than by the communist experience of the twentieth century
pdf  study  economics  growth-econ  broad-econ  cliometrics  path-dependence  wealth-of-nations  divergence  history  mostly-modern  communism  authoritarianism  political-econ  institutions  eastern-europe  russia  long-short-run  culture  cultural-dynamics  🎩  values  general-survey  nationalism-globalism  competition  individualism-collectivism  gender  labor  democracy  expert  antidemos  capitalism  microfoundations  expert-experience  roots  top-n  branches  intel  china  asia  sinosphere  orient  technocracy  europe  germanic  agriculture  heavy-industry  pre-ww2  urban-rural  EU  trust  conquest-empire  empirical  markets  usa  migration  tribalism  us-them  convergence  enlightenment-renaissance-restoration-reformation  confucian  comparison  flux-stasis  hari-seldon 
august 2017 by nhaliday
Does European development have Roman roots? Evidence from the German Limes
The results indicate that economic development—as mea-sured by luminosity—is indeed significantly and robustly larger in the formerly Roman part of Germany. The study identifies the persistence of the Roman road network until the present an important factor causing this developmental advantage of the formerly Roman part ofGermany both by fostering city growth and by allowing for a denser road network.
CC: @GarettJones this puts a new spin on deep history! Hard to explain...
I've got a theory, have a partial model but need some time to formalize it. I've called it the Radio Brain Hypothesis...
pdf  study  economics  growth-econ  cliometrics  broad-econ  history  iron-age  medieval  mostly-modern  europe  germanic  path-dependence  divergence  shift  transportation  network-structure  urban  pseudoE  within-group  wealth-of-nations  natural-experiment  microfoundations  mediterranean  the-classics  conquest-empire  the-great-west-whale  geography  infrastructure  multi  twitter  social  commentary  backup  spearhead  econotariat  garett-jones  aphorism  ideas  branches  urban-rural  hari-seldon 
july 2017 by nhaliday
A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE: THE CULTURE OF HONOR AND HOMICIDE IN THE US SOUTH - Grosjean - 2014 - Journal of the European Economic Association - Wiley Online Library
I find that historical Scots-Irish presence is associated with higher contemporary homicide, particularly by white offenders, and that a culture of violence was transmitted to subsequent generations—but only in the South and, more generally, where historical institutional quality was low. The interpretation is that the Scots-Irish culture of honor prevailed and persisted as an adaptive behavior to weak institutions. As institutional quality converged between the South and North over the last 200 years, the influence of the culture of honor has been fading over time.
study  sociology  criminology  crime  race  demographics  usa  the-south  american-nations  anglo  order-disorder  peace-violence  institutions  pdf  piracy  path-dependence  broad-econ  political-econ  microfoundations  multi  twitter  social  commentary  gnon  unaffiliated  right-wing  pop-diff 
june 2017 by nhaliday
Culture and the Historical Process
This article discusses the importance of accounting for cultural values and beliefs when studying the process of historical economic development. A notion of culture as heuristics or rules-of-thumb that aid in decision making is described. Because cultural traits evolve based upon relative fitness, historical shocks can have persistent impacts if they alter the costs and benefits of different traits. A number of empirical studies confirm that culture is an important mechanism that helps explain why historical shocks can have persistent impacts; these are reviewed here. As an example, I discuss the colonial origins hypothesis (Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson, 2001), and show that our understanding of the transplantation of European legal and political institutions during the colonial period remains incomplete unless the values and beliefs brought by European settlers are taken into account. It is these cultural beliefs that formed the foundation of the initial institutions that in turn were key for long-term economic development.


The notion of culture that I employ is that of decision making heuristics or ‘rules-of-thumb that have evolved given our need to make decisions in complex and uncertain environments. Using theoretical models, Boyd and Richerson (1985, 2005) show that if information acquisition is either costly or imperfect, the use of heuristics or rules-of-thumb in decision-making can arise optimally. By relying on general beliefs, values or gut feelings about the “right” thing to do in different situations, individuals may not behave in a manner that is optimal in every instance, but they do save on the costs of obtaining the information necessary to always behave optimally. The benefit of these heuristics is that they are “fast-and-frugal”, a benefit which in many environments outweighs the costs of imprecision (Gigerenzer and Goldstein, 1996). Therefore, culture, as defined in this paper, refers to these decision-making heuristics, which typically manifest themselves as values, beliefs, or social norms.
study  economics  growth-econ  methodology  explanation  conceptual-vocab  concept  culture  cultural-dynamics  anthropology  broad-econ  path-dependence  roots  institutions  decision-making  heuristic  🎩  europe  age-of-discovery  expansionism  world  developing-world  wealth-of-nations  🌞  s:*  pseudoE  political-econ  north-weingast-like  social-norms  microfoundations  hari-seldon 
june 2017 by nhaliday

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