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The Independent Institute
Working Paper #39

Constitutional Causes for Technological Leadership: Why Europe?


Abstract: In a paper circulated towards the end of 1997 under the title Why Europe?, Gordon Tullock poses a simple question and provides a tentative, yet provocative answer. The question is why the technological take off took place in Europe and in the 19th century when well into the 18th century other areas of the world, and notably China, looked much better poised for technological and scholarly leadership than Europe. His tentative answer turns on the constitutional composition of the landscape of political entities in Europe. This essay tries to provide some further underpinnings to aspects of Gordon Tullock's preliminary answer.