Elites and Institutional Persistence

James A. Robinson

in The Role of Elites in Economic Development

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199659036
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191749032 | DOI:

Series: WIDER Studies in Development Economics

Elites and Institutional Persistence

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Particular sets of institutions, once they become established in a society, have a strong tendency to persist. This chapter argues that understanding how elites form and reproduce is key to understanding the persistence of institutions over time. The chapter illustrates this idea with a simple political economy theory of institutions, and through examples from Liberia, the US, South Africa, and Germany the chapter shows how elites influence institutions. To change institutions requires having an understanding of how reforms influence the preferences, capabilities, and strategies of elites.

Keywords: elites; political economy; persistence of institutions; Liberia; US; South Africa; Germany

Chapter.  8471 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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