Classical political economists like Adam Smith and David Ricardo gave primacy to economic mechanisms in their attempt to explain the big questions on the material conditions of human welfare, i.e., the growth and distribution of income and wealth. However, other social sciences recognised quite early that political power and resultant contestations were as important in determining these outcomes. Thus, during much of the twentieth century, thinking on these issues diverged between economics on the one hand, and other social sciences including political science and sociology on the other. This dichotomy in the analysis of political economy issues continued for large parts of the long twentieth century.
A very significant ‘metamorphosis’ of this dichotomous approach towards an analysis of the ‘political’ started towards the end of the twentieth century. It happened as a result of the increasing influence of ‘institutionalism’, on economics (North 1990), political science (Steinmo, Thelen and Longstreth 1992) and sociology (Meyer and Rowan 1977). This school of thought argued that, rather than individual choices, it was the rules of human behaviour – either formally adopted or informally agreed to – that organize social, political and economic interactions in a society, which are the most important determinants of socio-economic outcomes. This approach also stressed that the nature of these institutions were themselves the outcome of complex sociological, political and even historical processes. All these ideas gave rise to a large and growing literature that redefined the theme of political economy of growth and distribution in contemporary settings. The upshot of this metamorphosis was the rejection of the dichotomous approach and the adoption of a more multi-disciplinary approach towards growth and distribution (North 2009, Alesina 1994, Rodrik et al. 2004, Acemaglu et al. 2001, 2012, Piketty 2014, Atkinson 2015).
Inaugural Workshop (5.10.2016), at IEG Delhi
- Prof. Sabyasachi Kar (IEG, Delhi)
- Prof. Oliver Kessler (Staatswissenschaften, Univ. Erfurt)
- Prof. Sebastian Vollmer (Goettingen Univ.)
Module Committee Members:
- Amrita Dhillon (King’s Collage London, UK)
- Axel Dreher (Univ. of Heidelberg, Germany)
- Kunal Sen (University of Manchester, UK)
- Manoj Panda (IEG, Delhi)
- Saibal Kar (Centre for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta)
- Sanjay Kumar (CSDS, Delhi)
- Sebastian Vollmer (University of Göttingen, Germany)
- Stephan Klasen (University of Göttingen, Germany)
- Sunila Kale (University of Washington, USA)