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Path Dependence, a few key references
compiled by Michelle Hegmon
ALSO: The Minc reading in this folder is about different social mechanisms for storing
information about challenges that vary depending on the periodicity of the challenge. Also see
Minc’s article in JAR.
Definitional statements:
W. Brian Arthur (1989) Competing Technologies, Increasing Returns, and Lock-In by
Historical Events,” The Economic Journal 99:116-131.
He basically sets out the criteria for a narrow/precise definition of PD.
Paul Pierson (2000) Increasing Returns, Path Dependence, and the Study of Politics. The
American Political Science Review 94:251-267.
He applies Arthur’s definition to political science.
Douglass C. North (1991) Institutions. The Journal of Economic Perspectives 5:97-112.
Thomas P. Hughes (1994) Technological Momentum: Does Technology Drive History? In The
Dilemma of Technological Determinism, edited by Leo Marx and Merritt Roe Smith, pp.
101-113. MIT Press Cambridge, MA.
Paul Krugman (1991) History and Industry Location: The Case of the Manufacturing Belt. The
American Economic Review 81(2):80-83.
Paul Krugman (1998) Space: The Final Frontier. Journal of Economic Perspectives 12(2):161174.
Paul Krugman (1999) The Role of Geography in Development. International Regional Science
Review 22(2):142-161.
Archaeological applications
Polly Wiessner (2002) Vine of Complexity: Egalitarian Structures and the Institutionalization of
Inequality among the Enga. Current Anthropology 43:233-269.
She uses North’s ideas about institituions. She doesn’t talk about PDper se, but the cycle she
describes seems like a good example
Guillermo Algaze (2005) The Sumerian Takeoff. Structure and Dynamics: eJournal of
Anthropological and Related Sciences 1(1) article 2.
Guillermo Algaze (2001) Initial Social Complexity in Southwestern Asia: The Mesopotamian
Advantage. Current Anthropology 42:199-233.
He (primarily in his 2008 book) is one of the few archaeologists Iknow who discusses PD
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