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Human geography and the institutions that underlie economic growth

By Thomas Farole, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose and Michael Storper


Human geography is in a unique position to understand how local structural factors shape social, political, and ultimately economic outcomes. Indeed, the discipline has had much to say about the interaction between local institutions and the economy in general, and about how the broader institutions of society influence local economic development. Yet, to date, geographers have for the most part avoided debates on more generalized theories of economic growth and development. With the increasing recognition – among sociologists, political scientists and even economists – that explaining economic growth robustly requires taking into account the role of both formal society-wide institutions and local and sometimes informal institutions, geographers are in a position to make an important contribution. In order to do so, however, they will need to take greater account of the theories and developments that are taking place outside the discipline. Using the framework of community and society as complementary structural forces shaping development trajectories, this paper presents a broad overview of the principal theoretical and empirical developments in the institutionalist approaches to economic development and identifies areas in which geographical research could contribute to them

Topics: G Geography (General), HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Publisher: SAGE publications
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1177/0309132510372005
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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