Family Institution

Best Essays
Family Structure, Institutions, and Growth: The Origins and Implications of Western Corporations
By AVNER GREIF*
There is a vast amount of literature that considers the importance of the family as an institution. Little attention, however, has been given to the impact of the family structure and its dynamics on institutions. This limits our ability to understand distinct institutional developments—and hence growth—in the past and present. This paper supports this argument by highlighting the importance of the European family structure in one of the most fundamental institutional changes in history and reflects on its growth-related implications. What constituted this change was the emergence of the economic and political corporations in late medieval Europe. Corporations are defined as consistent with their historical meaning: intentionally created, voluntary, interest-based, and self-governed permanent associations. Guilds, fraternities, universities, communes, and city-states are some of the corporations that have historically dominated Europe; businesses and professional associations, business corporations, universities, consumer groups, counties, republics, and democracies are examples of corporations in modern societies. The provision of corporation-based institutions to mitigate problems of cooperation and conflict constituted a break from the ways in which institutions had been provided in the past. Historically, large kinship groups—such as clans, lineages, and tribes— often secured the lives and property of their members and provided them with social safety nets. Institutions were also often provided by states and governed by customary or authoritarian rulers and by religious authorities. Private-order, usually undesigned, institutions also prevailed. Corporation-based institutions can substitute for institutions provided in these ways. When they substitute for kinship groups and provide social safety nets, corporations complement the nuclear family. An



References: Bates, Robert; Greif, Avner and Singh, Smita. “Organizing Violence.” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 2002, 46(5), pp. 599 – 628. Berman, Harold J. Law and revolution: The formation of the Western legal tradition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983. Bittles, Alan H. “The Role and Significance of Consanguinity as a Demographic Variable.” Population and Development Review, 1994, 20(3), pp. 561– 84. Goody, Jack. The development of the family and marriage in Europe. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 1983. Greif, Avner. “Commitment, Coercion, and Markets: The Nature and Dynamics of Institutions Supporting Exchange,” in Claude Me´ nard and Mary M. Shirley, eds., The handbook of new institutional economics. Norwell, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2005. Greif, Avner. Institutions and the path to economic modernity: Lessons from medieval trade. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Hamilton, Gary G. “The Organizational Foundations of Western and Chinese Commerce: A 312 AEA PAPERS AND PROCEEDINGS MAY 2006 Historical and Comparative Analysis,” in Gary G. Hamilton, ed., Business networks and economic development in East and Southeast Asia. Hong Kong: University of Hong Kong Press, 1991, pp. 48 – 65. Jabar, Faleh A. and Dawod, Hosham. Tribes and power: Nationalism and ethnicity in the Middle East. London: Saqi Books, 2003. Korotayev, Andrey V. “Unilineal Descent Organization and Deep Christianization: A Cross- Cultural Comparison.” Cross-Cultural Research, 2003, 37(1), pp. 133–57. Kuran, Timur. “Why the Islamic Middle East Did Not Generate an Indigenous Corporate Law.” University of Southern California, Law and Economics Working Paper Series: No. 16, 2004. Persson, Torsten and Tabellini, Guido. “Democratic Capital: The Nexus of Political and Economic Change.” Unpublished Paper, 2005.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    The four centuries covered in this chapter mark a transitory phase in the history of East Asia. During this time, the threat of conquest from Mongol tribes dissipated. On the other hand, western European merchants and governments encroached upon the kingdoms of Japan, Korea, and China. More and more, East Asia was connected to the broader global trading patterns that western Europeans established during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Unlike in native civilizations and kingdoms in the Americas, European encroachment in East Asia did not result in the collapse of local political and cultural traditions. Indeed, cultural and political traditions continued to evolve along historical patterns. In 1800, East Asian societies were still remarkably cohesive despite the dramatic changes in global economic and political patterns occurring all around them.…

    • 1717 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    References: • Civilization in the West 6th Edition ; by Mark Kishlansky, Patrick Geary, Patricia O’Brien; Published by Pearson Longman.…

    • 1010 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Better Essays

    Glasner, Aviva Twersky. Journal of Social Sciences (15493652). 2010, Vol. 6 Issue 4, p535-539. 5p.…

    • 1056 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Family Systems

    • 1282 Words
    • 5 Pages

    In today’s world, families are dynamic and interdependent systems. The developmental processes of the children in the family are deeply affected by how the family system operates. However, a family’s structure does not determine whether it is a healthy family system or not. Today, families consist of single parents, stepparents, divorced parents, remarried parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. They are all able to contribute to a healthy functioning family system by meeting each family member’s needs and encouraging positive communication (Jamiolkowski, 2008). Unhealthy family systems have negative and possibly long-term effects on a child, both physically and emotionally. An unhealthy family system affects brain development and social development. Moreover, parents hold a particularly important part in their child’s spiritual development. When a family system lacks spiritual modeling, the children do not develop a spiritual relationship and lack religious meaning in their family life (Roehlkepartain, King, Wagener, Benson, 2006).…

    • 1282 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Traditional Family

    • 698 Words
    • 3 Pages

    A traditional family is not a family without a housewife. Housewives never use to be appreciated or accepted as it is today. It used to be that no matter the situation the wife would be a stay at home mom no matter what. But still even today a housewife is not appreciated that much, she is took for granted, and not acknowledged for the hard work that is done. The role of the traditional housewife is undervalued because it is not seen as a real job, took for granted and not appreciated.…

    • 698 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Code of Hammurabi

    • 877 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Tignor, Robert. “The Rise of Territorial States in Southeast Asia and North Africa.” Worlds Together Worlds Apart. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2008. Print.…

    • 877 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Families

    • 276 Words
    • 1 Page

    Families have changed greatly over the past 60 years, and they continue to become more diverse.…

    • 276 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Ung Family Research Paper

    • 997 Words
    • 4 Pages

    In examining the reasons causing the tragedy of the Ung family after the Cambodian Genocide in 1975, one can assume that these reasons include economic breakdown (continuity of the Angkar trading crops for firearms), government collapse (changes in the soldiers’ behavior towards the villagers, continuity of Khmer Rouge killing villagers at Lo Reap), and the lack of social interactions (changes in communication within the village of Lo Reap).…

    • 997 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Family Preservation

    • 1623 Words
    • 5 Pages

    For this paper I will be discussing the background of family preservation. It’s definition and background information on how and why it started, factors influencing the development, cost effectiveness, cultural issues, and the role that the social worker plays in family preservation.…

    • 1623 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    In his "Patron-Client Politics and Political Change in Southeast Asia," (James C. Scott, 1972), James C. Scott attempts to explain the patron-client model of association and "demonstrate its applicability to political action in Southeast Asia." (Scott 1972: 91) He acknowledges that the patron-client model is more commonly applied by anthropologists, but claims that the analysis may have more value in understanding the political situation in "less developed nations." (Scott 1972: 91) Scott presents the two most used models employed by western political scientists in analyzing the Third World. The first is a "horizontal, class model of conflict" (Scott 1972:91) whose value, he claims, is "dubious in the typical nonindustrial situation where most political groupings cut vertically across class lines." The second, which Scott claims comes closer to matching reality, places emphasis on "primordial" ties like ethnicity, language, or religion. However, he dismisses both as being "conflict models" and of better value in "analyzing hostilities between more or less corporate" (Scott 1972: 91) groups. Scott goes on to claim the need in Southeast Asia for a model that does not rely solely on horizontal or primordial sentiments.…

    • 961 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Family Preservation

    • 2637 Words
    • 11 Pages

    References: Carlson, Allan C. and Christensen, Bryce J. "Of Two Minds: The Educational and Cultural Effects of Family Dissolution." The Family in America. Rockford Institute, Rockford, Illinois. Vol. 2 No. 8. August 1988.…

    • 2637 Words
    • 11 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Family and Household

    • 997 Words
    • 4 Pages

    The word family comes from the Latin word familia which means household. This seems to be fitting since they both seem synonymous. In the dictionary the definition of family is a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head or a group of persons of common ancestry. The definition of household is those who dwell under the same roof and compose a family or a social unit comprised of those living together in the same dwelling. Even the definitions are very similar, yet they have come to mean two very different things in our modern day world. As time evolves so does the clarity of what makes up a family and the function of family and household are.…

    • 997 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The set of social and behavioral norms that are considered to be socially appropriate for individuals of a specific sex are called gender roles. Depending on the different cultures and traditions that each family follows will depend on how gender roles vary. There is a cliché regarding gender roles which depicts women as the caregivers and men as the breadwinners, but I feel like this is an old-fashioned concept and not at all the way things work in my family and life these days. So, through these pictures of my family and friends I’m going to point out the ways I feel about how traditional gender roles have changed, and also talk about some instances in which more clichéd gender roles are still prevalent.…

    • 540 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    inner workings of the family institution and how they fit into society. These theories are used to…

    • 2156 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Family Preservation

    • 458 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Family preservation should be an important goal in child abuse and neglect interventions, but it shouldn’t be the intervening or the only goal for a child’s welfare. Like Richard Gelles, for me the child’s safety, well-being, and the stability of their home should be the most important goal in child abuse and neglect. It’s all about the best opportunities for the child as well as living in an environment that is out of harms way for them. Unfortunately, in the society we live in today that is not always an option.…

    • 458 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays