02 May 2018

BOOK: Taisu ZHANG, The Laws and Economics of Confucianism - Kinship and Property in Preindustrial China and England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017). ISBN 9781107141117, £ 85.00

Cambridge University Press recently published a new book which compares property institutions in the United Kingdom and China during the pre-industrial period, in order to explain why development in both countries took different paths.


Tying together cultural history, legal history, and institutional economics, The Laws and Economics of Confucianism: Kinship and Property in Pre-Industrial China and England offers a novel argument as to why Chinese and English pre-industrial economic development went down different paths. The dominance of Neo-Confucian social hierarchies in Late Imperial and Republican China, under which advanced age and generational seniority were the primary determinants of sociopolitical status, allowed many poor but senior individuals to possess status and political authority highly disproportionate to their wealth. In comparison, landed wealth was a fairly strict prerequisite for high status and authority in the far more 'individualist' society of early modern England, essentially excluding low-income individuals from secular positions of prestige and leadership. Zhang argues that this social difference had major consequences for property institutions and agricultural production.


The Laws and Economics of Confucianism
Cambridge Studies in Economics, Choice, and Society - Series page pp i-iv
The Laws and Economics of Confucianism - Title page pp i-iv
Copyright page pp i-iv
Dedication pp i-iv
Contents pp v-vi
Acknowledgments pp vii-viii
Introduction pp ix-x
1 - Dian Sales in Qing and Republican China pp 1-34
2 - Mortgages in Early Modern England pp 35-63
3 - Kinship, Social Hierarchy, and Institutional Divergence (Theories) pp 64-85
4 - Kinship, Social Hierarchy, and Institutional Divergence (Empirics) pp 86-122
5 - Kinship Hierarchies in Late Imperial History pp 123-183
6 - Property Institutions and Agricultural Capitalism pp 184-219
Conclusion pp 220-251
Appendices pp 252-268
APPENDIX A: List of Dian-Related Cases pp 252-268
APPENDIX B: List of Political Elites from Seven North China Villages pp 269-274
Bibliography pp 275-280
Chinese Terms pp 281-302
Index pp 303-304

More information with the publisher 

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