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Greif: Self-enforcing political systems and economic growth

Disclaimer. Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website. "Wikisum" is now dead but archived here. I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I say who wrote them.

Greif. 1998. Self-enforcing political systems and economic growth: Late Medieval Genoa. In Analytic Narratives, eds. Bates and Levi et al, pp. 25-64.

From handout:

Periods and Results:

  1. 1099 to 1154: Political foundations.
  1. 1154-1164: From pirates to traders.
  1. 1164-1194: In the absence of a self-enforcing political system from order to disorder.
  1. 1194-1350: Self-enforcing political system based on political rules.

Conclusion: Greif describes podesteria as a path dependent process that "constrained Genoa's political rules from evolving significantly away from the forms and functions shaped by their historical origins." (p. 59). Podesteria worked because it provided impartial political and legal system and did not alter, but built on "existing factional structures."

Research by the same authors

Research on similar subjects


Greif, Avner (author)Comparative PoliticsGuns vs ButterGrowthInstitutionsOrigins of InstitutionsSecurity DilemmaStatesAuthority

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