A Research Agenda for New Institutional Economics
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A Research Agenda for New Institutional Economics

Edited by Claude Ménard and Mary M. Shirley

Consisting of 30 concise chapters written by top scholars, this Research Agenda probes the knowledge frontiers of issues long at the forefront of New Institutional Economics (NIE), including government, contracts and property rights. It examines pressing research questions surrounding norms, culture, and beliefs. It is designed to inform and inspire students and those starting their careers in economics, law and political science. Well-established scholars will also find the book invaluable in updating their understanding of crucial research questions and seeking new areas to explore.
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Chapter 26: Neo-institutionalism in ancient economic history: the road ahead

Taco Terpstra


Neo-institutionalism has had a deep impact on the economic study of antiquity, to the point where it has become the de facto scholarly default. But although it has been beneficial to analyses of discrete ancient economies it has yet to be employed to study the overall economic performance of the Greco-Roman world. The ancient Mediterranean seems to have experienced long-term trends of growth and contraction that transcended traditional chronologies, as suggested by archaeological data. Those data increasingly point to the need for an encompassing economic narrative. Neo-institutionalism holds the promise of facilitating such a narrative, while avoiding the formalist/substantivist debate of the previous decades. A neo-institutional research agenda will allow scholarship to approach the question of what produced both the success and failure of the economies of the ancient world in the aggregate.

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