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Handbook of Economic Growth by Steven Durlauf, Philippe Aghion

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8.9 Lesson 8: Distributional Conflicts are Central

We have seen in Lessons 1 through 7 that many economists concerned with growth ascribe a major causal role to institutions, whose roots they trace far back in history. But there are also many who challenge the very idea of an institutional system favorable to growth, independent of geographical or cultural context. Some regard institutions essentially as superstructure, with other variables, such as geographical resource endowments or cultural attitudes, as more fundamental causes of economic growth which bring institutions in their wake (e.g. Sachs, 2003). Others hold that a society always has the institutions that are efficient given its endowments, technology, or cultural attitudes (e.g. ...

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