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The Ideological Roots of Institutional Change

Murat Iyigun and Jared Rubin

Working Papers from Chapman University, Economic Science Institute

Abstract: Why do some societies fail to adopt more e¢ cient institutions in response to changing economic conditions? And why do such conditions sometimes generate ideological backlashes and at other times lead to transformative sociopolitical movements? We propose an explanation that highlights the interplayó or lack thereofó between new technologies, ideologies, and institutions. When new technologies emerge, uncertainty results from a lack of understanding how the technology will Öt with prevailing ideologies and institutions. This uncertainty discourages investment in institutions and the cultural capital necessary to take advantage of new technologies. Accordingly, increased uncertainty during times of rapid technological change may generate an ideological backlash that puts a higher premium on traditional values. We apply the theory to numerous historical episodes, including Ottoman reform initiatives, the Japanese Tokugawa reforms and Meiji Restoration, and the Tongzhi Restoration in Qing China.

Keywords: Ideology; Institutions; Conservatism; Beliefs; Institutional Change; Technological Change; Uncertainty (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D02 N40 N70 O33 O38 O43 Z10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-evo, nep-his and nep-pke
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (8)

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