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Institute for New Economic Thinking

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James Robinson of Harvard University and Steven Pincus of Yale University to be Awarded a Grant from the Institute for New Economic Thinking


The Institute will fund Professor Robinson and Professor Pincus’ research project relating to a new interpretation of the events causing the British Industrial Revolution

New York, NY, November 08, 2010 --(PR.com)-- The Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), launched with a $50 million pledge from George Soros to promote changes in economic theory and practice through research grants, Task Force groups, academic partnerships, and conferences, announced that it has selected James Robinson of Harvard University and Steven Pincus of Yale University to be awarded a project grant through the Institute’s Inaugural Grant Program to research the events causing the British Industrial Revolution. The grant program, along with other INET initiatives, was created in direct response to arguably the worst economic crisis in world history, and has been designed to encourage and support new economic thinking. Starting in 2011, INET will conduct two grant cycles annually.

The industrial revolution and the consequent economic divergence of Britain from the rest of the world the second half of the 18th century was the result of changes in economic institutions and policies which created better incentives to stimulate technical change and innovation. Economic divergence was the result of a divergence of political institutions. Some of the elements of the grantee’s interpretation of the events causing the British Industrial Revolution are well known but have fallen out of favor with scholars and have yet to be put together in a way which generates what they believe to be the right way to think about the phenomenon. This grant will support original archival work designed to understand the various ways in which political and economic institutions affected and in turn were affected by the rapid industrialization of Britain, and the subsequent explosion in growth all around the world.

“Robinson and Pincus revisit political as well as the economic history to analyze the industrial revolution of Britain in a crucial, yet forgotten perspective,” commented Dr. Robert Johnson, Executive Director of INET. “We are funding fresh-look at the underlying catalysts of historical events that fundamentally altered the world economy and society itself. This will give us a better understanding of how industrialization affects political and economic institutions.”

Professor Robinson teaches Political Economy and Economic History at Harvard. His research has been on comparative economic and political development with a focus on Latin America and Africa and why modern economic growth has spread so unevenly over the world. Over the last few years Professor Robinson and Professor Pincus have found themselves more and more unhappy about the conventional wisdom on Britain.

“The British industrial revolution is the key event of modern economic history but the academic literature has completely missed the critical issues,” said James Robinson, David Florence Professor of Government, Harvard University. “Economists want to construct a history free model of the world, and neither historians nor political scientists care about economics. Since the INET is not constraint by arcane disciplinary boundaries their role is crucial in helping this type of research happen.”

INET’s Inaugural Grant Program has been designed to harness the new economic thinking they recognize as crucial to effecting change. The program was launched this summer and received more than 500 applications from around the world and has selected 31 initiatives to be awarded grants totaling $7 million. INET's Grant Program will continue with two similar grant cycles annually, the next one commencing in the spring of 2011.

For further details regarding INET’s Grant Program or additional projects and people to be awarded grants please visit the Institute’s website.

About the Institute for New Economic Thinking:
Launched in October 2009 with a $50 million commitment from George Soros and driven by the global financial crisis, the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) is dedicated to empowering and supporting the next generation of economists and scholars in related fields through research grants, Task Force groups, academic partnerships, and conferences. INET embraces the professional responsibility to think beyond current paradigms. Ultimately, INET is committed to broadening and accelerating the development of innovative thinking that can lead to insights into and solutions for the great challenges of the 21st century and return economics to its core mission of guiding and protecting society. For more information please visit http://www.ineteconomics.org/

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Institute for New Economic Thinking
Bill Fallon
212 925 6900
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ineteconomics.org

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