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Lineages of Despotism and Development: British Colonialism and State Power Hardcover – Jun 1 2009

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“Matthew Lange has produced an exceptional work of theoretical and methodological synthesis. He combines the insights of Peter Evans, Michael Mann, and Max Weber into a coherent and convincing explanation for the divergent impact of British colonialism on long-term human development. No one has mustered such an impressive array of qualitative and quantitative evidence to show that colonialism indeed mattered, and in fact mattered very much—not only for those who experienced British imperialism in their own lifetimes, but for their post-colonial descendants as well. With this book, Lange has established himself as a leading voice in the growing interdisciplinary debates on colonialism’s developmental legacies.”
(Dan Slater, University of Chicago 2008-06-24)

“Here in this book is the best explanation of the colonial roots of effective and defective states among the former British colonies yet produced. Lange offers sound theoretical reasons for why ‘direct’ versus ‘indirect’ British rule might set countries down profoundly different paths of development. And his empirical assessment, which includes both case studies and statistical tests, is extremely persuasive.”

(James Mahoney, Northwestern University 2008-12-01)

About the Author

Matthew Lange is assistant professor of sociology at McGill University.

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
historical institutionalism at its best Feb. 10 2010
By M Everest-phillips - Published on
Format: Hardcover
A fascinating multi-dimensional account of different historical trajectories of development based on the legacy of colonial direct or indirect rule, but also showing that colonialism was not all - immediate post-colonial difference also mattered.

Its important findings raise a key developmental challenge that it was effective destruction of local 'traditional' patterns of governance that often proved decisive in escaping elite capture and triggering long-term sustainable economic growth. Naiveté therefore about optimistic expectations for empowering local patterns of governance may therefore not help pro-poor developemnt outcomes.