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Published June 1988 | public
Journal Article

Institutions and Agriculture in Old-Regime France


Do institutions matter? Do they shape economic outcomes? Most economists would undoubtedly answer that the effects of institutions are obvious. But there is a broad strain in modern economic thought that simply ignores institutions. All too often they are grudgingly admitted as givens at the beginning of a paper and then abruptly dismissed or forgotten once the real work is under way. The most one can expect is that they be relegated to the role of a servant of economic outcomes. They are summoned to repair market failures, but the implication is that an institution that hindered economic growth or delayed optimal equilibria would in the long run be replaced.

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© 1988 SAGE Publications.

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