The Institutional Revolution: The Duel of Honor

Douglas W. Allen

Simon Fraser University

The duel of honor – can you think of a more romantic topic for a St. Valentine’s Day lecture? The duel would seem to be a barbaric practice from an anachronistic age. Yet, Professor Allen provides a cogent theory of dueling, arguing that it provided a screen for otherwise unobservable investments in “social capital” – social investments that allowed aristocrats to demonstrate their allegiance to the crown. He argues that his “social capital” hypothesis is consistent with many of dueling’s peculiar institutional features, the rise and fall of the practice, and the salient differences between the European and American dueling practices. One suspects that he will also address Joseph Schumpeter’s duel with a recalcitrant campus librarian.

The talk is adopted from his recent book, The Institutional Revolution: Measurement and the Economic Emergence of the Modern World.

Professor Allen is on campus to discuss his classic work on North American agriculture, The Nature of the Farm (co-authored with Dean Lueck).

 Thursday, February 14 

Steitz Hall 102 

4:30-5:30 p.m.