Comparative Economic Studies

, Volume 60, Issue 4, pp 475–501 | Cite as

Comparative Economics in Historical Perspective

Presidential Address for the 2018 Association for Comparative Economic Studies Meetings
  • Gerard RolandEmail author


This paper presents evidence showing that there have been since antiquity two opposed types of institutional systems: one resembling central planning and present in ancient China, ancient Egypt, the Inca Empire and other territorial states, and another one with strong market institutions, protection of property rights present mostly in city-states not just in the Mediterranean but throughout the world. A new database documenting these diverse institutional clusters from the antiquity is described and their links analyzed.


Comparative economics Comparative history Institutions in ancient times Culture Individualism Collectivism 

JEL Classification

N00 P40 P50 


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Copyright information

© Association for Comparative Economic Studies 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UC BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.CEPRLondonUK
  3. 3.NBERCambridgeUSA

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