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Culture and institutions: a review of Joel Mokyr's A Culture of Growth

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-11-26, 14:33 authored by Geoff Hodgson
This is a review of Joel Mokyr's fascinating book entitled A Culture of Growth. The work is summarized, noting its focus on Darwin-style evolutionary explanations of cultural change. But Mokyr's emphasis on cultural entrepreneurs and positive feedbacks in the procreation of ideas is insufficient to explain the origins of modern economic growth. Too much explanatory weight is placed on too few extraordinary people. It is argued that Mokyr's analysis should be extended, to bring the evolution of institutions, as well as the evolution of culture, into the picture at an additional level. The role of inter-state rivalry and exogenous shocks has also to be underlined. This kind of analysis can be developed within the framework of generalized Darwinism, which Mokyr himself adopts. This is a major and highly stimulating book.

History

School

  • Loughborough University London

Published in

Journal of Institutional Economics

Volume

18

Issue

Special Issue 1

Pages

159-168

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Authors

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Cambridge University Press under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0). Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Acceptance date

2021-07-02

Publication date

2021-07-28

Copyright date

2022

ISSN

1744-1374

eISSN

1744-1382

Language

  • en

Depositor

Deposit date: 26 November 2021

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