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A Historiography of Comparative Economics

Josef Brada ()

Chapter 2 in The Palgrave Handbook of Comparative Economics, 2021, pp 19-45 from Springer

Abstract: Abstract What is a good economic system? What objectives should it seek? What institutions and mechanisms for coordinating economic activity are beneficial for system performance? These are the key and age-old questions that motivate comparative economics. Philosophers and religious authorities provided early answers. Later, Ibn Khaldun and Adam Smith posited that people were motived by self-interest and that the objective of an economic system was to meet these desires. Efficient production and distribution could be achieved by using markets, but institutions came to be seen as critical as well. Comparative economics cannot find one objective criterion by which to judge economic systems because systems pursue many goals including rapid growth and a fair income distribution. So judgments about what is a good economic system remain controversial.

Keywords: Economic system; Comparative economics; Allocative efficiency; Institutions; Religion; Philosophy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-50888-3_2

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