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World Economic History Congress, Kyoto, August 2015

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World Economic History Congress, Kyoto, August 2015

Professor Nick Crafts participated in a panel discussion on “Diversity and Economic Development” together with Professor Abhijit Banerjee (MIT) and Professor Avner Greif (Stanford University).

The topic for the session was ‘Are there new approaches that will help us better understand diversity in economic development?’. This was a plenary session, one of only three, at the Congress which is held once every three years.

Each participant made an opening presentation setting out an answer to the question. Crafts’ main point was that it was important to recognise that divergence could occur even in a world where institutions and policies were perfect everywhere.

Fundamentally, the reasons for this would stem from geography. He maintained that recent developments in economics, namely, in the fields of new economic geography and directed technical change, could be helpful in developing a better historical understanding of these tendencies to divergence.

He illustrated this argument with reference to the simultaneous industrialization of Europe and deindustrialization of Asia that took place in the 19th century.