Divergent Paths: How Culture and Institutions Have Shaped North American Growth

Paperback | April 30, 1999

byMarc Egnal

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Why are some countries without an apparent abundance of natural resources, such as Japan, economic success stories, while other languish in the doldrums of slow growth. In this comprehensive look at North American economic history, Marc Egnal argues that culture and institutions play anintegral role in determining economic outcome. He focuses his examination on the eight colonies of the North, five colonies of the South (which together made up the original thirteen states), and French Canada. Using census data, diaries, travelers' accounts, and current scholarship, Egnalsystematically explores how institutions (such as slavery in the South and the seigneurial system in French Canada) and cultural arenas (such as religion, literacy, entrepreneurial spirit, and intellectual activity) influenced development. He seeks to answer why three societies with similarstandards of living in 1750 became so dissimilar in development. By the mid-nineteenth century, the northern states had surged ahead in growth, and this gap continued to widen into the twentieth century. Egnal argues that culture and institutions allowed this growth in the North, not resources orgovernment policies. Both the South and French Canada stressed hierarchy and social order more than the drive for wealth. Rarely have such parallels been drawn between these two societies. Complete numerous helpful appendices, figures, tables, and maps, Divergent Paths is a rich source of uniqueperspectives on economic development with strong implications for emerging societies.

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From Our Editors

Marc Egnal's Divergent Paths is a fresh and original look at three very different North American regional responses to the challenge of modern economic growth. Adding French Canada to the comparative mix is so informative that one wonders why it has not been done before.

From the Publisher

Why are some countries without an apparent abundance of natural resources, such as Japan, economic success stories, while other languish in the doldrums of slow growth. In this comprehensive look at North American economic history, Marc Egnal argues that culture and institutions play anintegral role in determining economic outcome. He ...

Marc Egnal is at York University.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 9.25 × 6.18 × 0.67 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195109066

ISBN - 13:9780195109061

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From Our Editors

Marc Egnal's Divergent Paths is a fresh and original look at three very different North American regional responses to the challenge of modern economic growth. Adding French Canada to the comparative mix is so informative that one wonders why it has not been done before.

Editorial Reviews

"Within a relatively short compass Egnal provides considerable detail and comparative analysis.... This book is stimulating and thought-provoking."--Choice