The Review of Austrian Economics

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 383–395 | Cite as

The Institutional Revolution: A review essay



This review essay discusses and appraises Douglas Allen’s The Institutional Revolution (2011) as a way of reflecting on the uses of the New Institutional Economics (NIE) in economic history. It praises and defends Allen’s method of asking “what economic problem were these institutions solving?” But it insists that such comparative-institutional analysis be imbedded within a deeper account of institutional change, one driven principally by changes – often endogenous changes – in the extent of the market and in relative scarcities. The essay supports its argument with a variety of examples of the NIE applied to economic history.


Institutions Transaction costs Aristocracy Military history Factory system 

Journal of Economic Literature classifications

B52 D02 D23 N01 N4 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of ConnecticutStorrsUSA

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