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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 368 of Joel Mokyr’s 2009 volume, The Enlightened Economy: An Economic History of Britain 1700-1850:

The idea that institutions play a central role in determining economic outcomes and performance, long reviled by economists, has been revived in the past decades and become something of a mantra among economist interested in long-term development.  The literature has not quite agreed what is precisely meant by “institutions,” but clearly the definition includes the rules by which the economic game is played, and how they are enforced and obeyed.  It has been realized that a central issue in economic performance is what protected property and enforced contracts, and that any agent who was placed in charge of justice and law enforcement needed to be constrained in critical ways to avoid a situation in which the state would be taken over by rent-seekers.