The Long Process of Development: Building Markets and States in Pre-Industrial England, Spain and Their Colonies

Jerry F. Hough and Robin Grier
Cambridge University Press

Douglass North once emphasized that development takes centuries, but he did not have a theory of how and why change occurs. In their groundbreaking book, Duke political scientist Jerry Hough and his co-author advance such a theory by examining in detail why England and Spain developed so slowly from 1000-1800.

A colonial legacy must go back centuries before settlement, and this book points to key events in England and Spain in the 1260s to explain why Mexico lagged behind the United States economically in the 20th century. Based on the integration of North's institutional approach with Mancur Olson's collective action theory, Max Weber's theory of value change, and North's focus on dominant coalitions based on rent and military in In the Shadow of Violence, this theory of change leads to exciting new historical interpretations, including the crucial role of the merchant-navy alliance in England and the key role of George Washington's control of the military in 1787.