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Dark Matter Credit$
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Philip T. Hoffman, Gilles Postel-Vinay, and Jean-Laurent Rosenthal

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691182179

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691182179.001.0001

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(p.218) Chapter 9 Conclusion
Dark Matter Credit

Philip T. Hoffman

Gilles Postel-Vinay

Jean-Laurent Rosenthal

Princeton University Press

This concluding chapter calls for an understanding of both historical inheritance and the process of change, which thus argues for a deeper understanding of long-run change. To fully grasp the role that history plays in long-run outcomes, social scientists have to go beyond simply establishing a causal connection between social and economic outcomes today and events in the past; that is merely one step. Social scientists must then take a second step and actually uncover why institutions fail to change or why they successfully evolve. Only then will they understand how events of long ago can have enduring consequences, and why intervening forces may not dilute the influence of the past. The task will require both general models and long-run data that cover the decades between the ancient causes and modern outcomes.

Keywords:   historical inheritance, long-run change, social scientists, economic outcomes, ancient causes, modern outcomes

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