Three Essays in the Microfoundations of Social Change

Ryan Langrill

Advisor: Peter J Boettke, PhD, Department of Economics

Committee Members: Christopher J. Coyne, Virgil H. Storr

Enterprise Hall, #318
July 17, 2013, 04:00 PM to 01:00 PM


This dissertation explores the influence of social and cultural factors in nations' transition to modern economic growth. In the first essay, I consider methodological issues involved in using social or cultural explanations as forces that drive 'economic' phenomena. In the second essay, V. H. Storr and I do a comparative study of two Japanese cities during the early modern period: Edo and Osaka. Edo’s highly bureaucratized society hindered the emergence of commercial culture, while Osaka’s absence of bureaucrats allowed a commercial culture to flourish. In the third essay, I consider the aspects of British social networks that gave it advantages over the rest of Europe in achieving modern economic growth.