NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Avner Greif

Department of Economics
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Stanford University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

June 2018Spatial Competition, Innovation and Institutions: The Industrial Revolution and the Great Divergence
with Klaus Desmet, Stephen Parente: w24727
A market-size-only theory of industrialization cannot explain why England developed nearly two centuries before China. One shortcoming of such a theory is its exclusive focus on producers. We show that once we incorporate the incentives of factor suppliers' organizations such as craft guilds, industrialization no longer depends on market size, but on spatial competition between the guilds' jurisdictions. We substantiate our theory (i) by providing historical and empirical evidence on the relation between spatial competition, craft guilds and innovation, and (ii) by showing the calibrated model correctly predicts the timings of the Industrial Revolution and the Great Divergence.
February 2015Outside Options, Coercion, and Wages: Removing the Sugar Coating
with Christian Dippel, Daniel Trefler: w20958
In economies with a large informal sector firms can increase profits by reducing workers’ outside options in that informal sector. We formalize this idea in a simple model of an agricultural economy with plantation owners who lobby the government to enact coercive policies—e.g. the eviction and incarceration of squatting small-hold farmers—that reduce the value to working outside the formal sector. Using unique data for 14 British West Indies ‘sugar islands’ from the year of slave emancipation in 1838 until 1913, we examine the impact of plantation owners’ power on wages and coercion-related incarceration. To gain identification, we utilize exogenous variation in the ease with which smallholders could evade the plantation system in the different islands over time. Where evading the plantat...
 
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