Historical Roots of Poverty

CFP: a panel at the WEHC, Utrecht, August 2009

XVth World Economic History Congress, Utrecht 2009 3 to 7 August

Call for Papers for a panel on Historical Roots of Poverty and Well-Being in Developing Countries

A recent development in the field of economic history, albeit with older antecedents, which has spurred a great scholarly interest, is the effort of tracing the historical roots of current divergence of incomes and occurrences of poverty in the world. It has recently famously been argued that the fundamental cause of current income levels is the lack of pro-growth institutions which originated under the colonial system.However, tracing the cause of current economic success long back in history runs the risk of neglecting important developments which lie in between time t=0 and today. Growth has been episodic in developing countries, and it is a major challenge to distinguish which periods were important and which were perverse or unsustainable.

This session welcomes new research that suggests new evidence and methods to explain long term economic and social change and by implication the current predicament of developing countries. Poverty and well-being are broadly defined, including indicators like education, health, and inequality, in addition to the conventional national income measures and its derivates. Important issues to be considered in the session are suggested as, but not exclusive to the origins and evolution of factors and policies which have had an influential and persistent impact on current well-being, the importance of the colonial impact, the importance of institutions and institutional continuity. Studies confronting the concept of legacy, pointing to changes of fortunes despite the persistence of underlying conditions, are also welcome.

Organizers: Morten Jerven and Alexander Moradi

Preliminary List of Participants: Tirthankar Roy, Gareth Austin, Paul Mosley, Sue Bowden, Leandro Prados de la Escosura, Jan Pieter Smits, Kris Inwood, Denise Cogneau, Oliver Masakure, Nathan Nunn, Daron Acemoglu, Ann Booth, Ewout Frankema

Instructions: We need to inform the local organizing committee of the final list of participants and submit all papers and abstracts on the 31st of May. We need some time to make a decision on the final list of participants, and organize the materials so the deadline for submission of a paper is 15th of May. We have two sessions of 90 minutes, which means we can accommodate 12 papers a 10 min, leaving 2 x 30 minutes for discussion. Papers will be circulated in advance, so that we can assume that we are familiar with each others papers and put emphasis on group discussion.

Submit papers and any questions to Morten Jerven [mailto]M.Jerven@lse.ac.uk[/mailto].