Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: March 2014

15 - Capitalism and human welfare

Business enterprises are organized very differently in different countries, and neoclassical economics is built around only one such model. Both historically and across modern economies, business groups are usually organized as pyramids. A family firm controls a first tier of listed companies by holding a dominant equity block in each. Business groups figure prominently in economic history, especially in late industrializers. Japan, an industrial power by the 1920s, was the first non-Western country to industrialize successfully. Large family-controlled business groups may well possess a genuine economic advantage over freestanding professionally run firms in low-income economies. Large pyramidal business groups persist in some highly developed economies. Their controlling families strive to be seen as good citizens, and are often keen to cooperate with popular governments. A high-income economy's Big Push commencement exercise can be traumatic for the graduating class of business group controlling shareholders.
Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

The Cambridge History of Capitalism
  • Online ISBN: 9781139095105
  • Book DOI:
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *


Acemoglu, D. and S. Johnson (2007). “Disease and Development: The Effects of Life Expectancy on Economic Growth,” Journal of Political Economy 115: 925–985.
Allen, R. C. (2001). “The Great Divergence in European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War,” Explorations in Economic History 38: 411–447.
Allen, R. C. (2007). “Pessimism Preserved: Real Wages in the British Industrial Revolution,” Oxford University, Department of Economics, Working Paper No. 314.
Allen, R. C., J.-P. Bassino, D. Ma, C. Moll-Murata, and J. Luiten Van Zanden (2011). “Wages, Prices, and Living Standards in China, 1738–1925: In Comparison with Europe, Japan, and India,” Economic History Review 64(S1): 8–38.
Álvarez-Nogal, C. and L. Prados de la Escosura (2013). “The Rise and Fall of Spain, 1270–1850,” Economic History Review 66: 1–37.
Amrith, S. S. (2009). “Health in India since Independence,” University of Manchester Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper 79.
Anand, S. and A. Sen (2000). “The Income Component of the Human Development Index,” Journal of Human Development 1: 83–106.
Angeles, L. (2008). “GDP per Capita or Real Wages? Making Sense of Conflicting Views on Preindustrial Europe,” Explorations in Economic History 45: 147–163.
Atkinson, A. T. P. and E. Saez (2011). “Top Incomes in the Long-run of History,” Journal of Economic Literature 49: 3–71
Becker, G. S., T. J. Philipson, and R. R. Soares (2005). “The Quantity and Quality of Life and the Evolution of World Inequality,” American Economic Review 95: 277–291.
Benavot, A. and P. Riddle (1988). “The Expansion of Primary Education, 1870–1940: Trends and Issues,” Sociology of Education 61: 191–210.
Brainerd, E. (2010a). “Human Development in Eastern Europe and the CIS since 1990,” UNDP Human Development Reports Research Paper No. 2010/16.
Brainerd, E. (2010b). “Reassessing the Standard of Living in the Soviet Union: An Analysis Using Archival and Anthropometric Data,” Journal of Economic History 70: 83–117.
Brainerd, E. and D. M. Cutler (2005). “Autopsy on an Empire: Understanding Mortality in Russia and the Former Soviet Union,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 19: 107–130.
Broadberry, S. N. and B. Gupta (2006). “The Early Modern Great Divergence: Wages, Prices and Economic Development in Europe and Asia, 1500–1800,” Economic History Review 59: 2–31.
Cheibub, J. A. (2010). “How to Include Political Capabilities in the HDI? An Evaluation of Alternatives,” UNDP Human Development Reports Research Paper 2010/41.
Collier, P. and S. A. O’Connell (2008). “Opportunities and Choices,” in B. J. Ndulu, S. A. O’Connell, J. P. Azam, R. H. Bates, A. K. Fosu, J. W. Gunning, and D. Njinkeu (eds.), The Political Economy of Economic Growth in Africa, 1960–2000, 2 vols. Cambridge University Press, Vol. I, pp. 76–136.
Cutler, D. and G. Miller (2005). “The Role of Public Health Improvements in Health Advance: The Twentieth Century United States,” Demography 42: 1–22.
Cutler, D., A. Deaton, and A. Lleras-Muney (2006). “The Determinants of Mortality,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 20: 97–120.
Dasgupta, P. and M. Weale (1992). “On Measuring the Quality of Life,” World Development 20(1): 119–131.
Devereux, J. (2010). “The Health of the Revolution: Explaining the Cuban Health Care Paradox” (unpublished).
Díaz-Briquets, S. (1981). “Determinants of Mortality Transition in Developing Countries before and after the Second World War: Some Evidence from Cuba,” Population Studies 35: 399–411.
Drèze, J. and A. K. Sen (2002). India: Development and Participation. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Dumke, R. (1988). “Income Inequality and Industrialization in Germany, 1850–1913: Images, Trends, and Causes of Historical Inequality,” Research in Economic History 2: 1–47.
Dutton Jr., J. (1979). “Changes in Soviet Mortality Patterns, 1959–77,” Population and Development Review 5: 267–291.
Easterlin, R. (1999). “How Beneficient is the Market? A Look at the Modern History of Mortality,” European Review of Economic History 3: 257–294.
Eggleston, K. N. and V. Fuchs (2012). “The New Demographic Transition: Most Gains in Life Expectancy Now Realized Late in Life,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 26: 137–156.
Engerman, S. L. (1997). “The Standard of Living Debate in International Perspective: Measure and Indicators,” in R. H. Steckel and R. Floud (eds.), Health and Welfare during Industrialization. University of Chicago Press/NBER, pp. 17–45.
Feinstein, C. (1998). “Pessimism Perpetuated: Real Wages and the Standard of Living in Britain during and after the Industrial Revolution,” Journal of Economic History 58: 625–658.
Fogel, R. W. (2004). The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death, 1700–2010: Europe, America and the Third World. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Frieden, J. (2006). Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth Century. New York: Norton.
Gidwitz, Z., M. P. Heger, J. Pineda, and F. Rodríguez (2010). “Understanding Performance in Human Development: A Cross-national Study,” UNDP Human Development Reports Research Paper No.2010/42.
Hanushek, E. A. and D. D. Kimko (2000). “Schooling, Labor-Force Quality, and the Growth of Nations,” American Economic Review 90(5): 1184–1208.
Hartwell, R. M. and S. L. Engerman (2003). “Capitalism,” in J. Mokyr (ed.), The Oxford Encyclopedia of Economic History, 5 vols. New York: Oxford University Press. Vol. I, pp. 319–325.
Hoffman, P. T., D. S. Jacks, P. A. Levin, and P. H. Lindert (2002). “Real Inequality in Europe since 1500,” Journal of Economic History 62: 322–355.
Huberman, M. (2012). Odd Couple: International Trade and Labor Standards in History. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Huberman, M. and W. Lewchuk (2003). “European Economic Integration and the Labour Compact, 1850–1913,” European Review of Economic History 7: 3–41.
Ivanov, A. and M. Peleah (2010). “From Centrally Planned Development to Human Development,” UNDP Human Development Reports Research Paper No. 2010/38.
Jayachandran, S., A. Lleras-Muney, and K. V. Smith (2010). “Modern Medicine and the Twentieth Century Decline in Mortality: Evidence on the Impact of Sulfa Drugs,” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 2: 118–146.
Kakwani, N. (1993). “Performance in Living Standards: An International Comparison,” Journal of Development Economics 41: 307–336.
Kotwal, A., B. Ramaswami, and W. Wadhwa (2011). “Economic Liberalization and Indian Economic Growth: What’s the Evidence?Journal of Economic Literature 49: 1152–1199.
Li, B. and J. L. Van Zanden (2010). “Before the Great Divergence? Comparing the Yangzi Delta and the Netherlands at the Beginning of the Nineteenth Century,” CEPR Discussion Paper No. 8023.
Lindert, P. H. (2004). Growing Public: Social Spending and Economic Growth since the Eighteenth Century, 2 vols. Cambridge University Press.
Lindert, P. H. and J. G. Williamson (1983). “English Workers’ Living Standards during the Industrial Revolution: A New Look,” Economic History Review 36: 1–25.
Lindert, P. H. (2003). “Does Globalization Make the World More Unequal?” in M. Bordo, A. M. Taylor, and J. G. Williamson (eds.), Globalization in Historical Perspective. University of Chicago Press/NBER, pp. 227–271.
Loudon, I. (2000). “Maternal Mortality in the Past and its Relevance to Developing Countries Today,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 72 (supplement): 241S–246S.
Maddison, A. (2001). The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective. Paris: OECD Development Centre.
Maddison, A. (2006). The World Economy. Paris, OECD Development Centre.
Maddison, A. (2010). Statistics on World Population, GDP and Per Capita GDP, 1–2008 AD. Available at (accessed June 24, 2013).
Mandle, J. R. (1970). “The Decline of Mortality in British Guiana, 1911–1960,” Demography 7: 301–315.
Mazur, D. P. (1969). “Expectancy of Life at Birth in 36 Nationalities of the Soviet Union: 1958–60,” Population Studies 23: 225–246.
McAlpin, M. B. (1983). “Famines, Epidemics, and Population Growth: The Case of India,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 14: 351–366.
McGuire, J. W. and L. B. Frankel (2005). “Mortality Decline in Cuba, 1900–1959: Patterns, Comparisons, and Causes,” Latin American Research Review 40: 83–116.
Omran, A. R. (1971). “The Epidemiological Transition: A Theory of Epidemiology of Population Change,” Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly 49: 509–538.
O’Rourke, K. H. and J. G. Williamson (1999). Globalization and History. The Evolution of a Nineteenth Century Atlantic Economy, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
O’Rourke, K. H., and J. G. Williamson (2005). “From Malthus to Ohlin: Trade, Industrialisation and Distribution since 1500,” Journal of Economic Growth 10: 5–34.
Pomeranz, K. (2000). The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy. Princeton University Press.
Prados de la Escosura, L. (2008). “Inequality, Poverty, and the Kuznets Curve in Spain, 1850–2000,” European Review of Economic History 12: 287–324.
Prados de la EscosuraL., (2013a). “Human Development in Africa: A Long-run Perspective,” Explorations in Economic History 50: 179–204.
Prados de la Escosura, L. (2013b), “World Human Development, 1870–2007,” Universidad Carlos III Working Papers in Economic History 13–01.
Preston, S. H. (1975). “The Changing Relationship between Mortality and Level of Economic Development,” Population Studies 29: 231–248.
Pryor, F. L. (2010). Capitalism Reassessed. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Riley, J. C. (2001). Rising Life Expectancy: A Global History, New York: Cambridge University Press.
Riley, J. C. (2005). Poverty and Life Expectancy: The Jamaica Paradox, New York: Cambridge University Press.
Rodrik, D. (1997). “Trade, Social Insurance, and the Limits to Globalization,” NBER Working Paper No. 5905.
Roy, T. (2006). The Economic History of India 1857–1947, 2nd edn. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Salomon, J. A., H. Wang, M. K. Freeman, T. Vos, A. D. Flaxman, A. D. Lopez, and C. J. L. Murray (2012). “Healthy Life Expectancy for 187 Countries, 1990–2010: A Systematic Analysis for the Global Burden Disease Study 2010,” Lancet 380: 2144–2162.
Sen, A. K. (1973). On Economic Inequality. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Sen, A. K. (1981). “Public Action and the Quality of Life in Developing Countries,” Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics 43: 287–319.
Sen, A. K. (1997). “Human Capital and Human Capability,” World Development 25: 1959–1961.
Shkolnikov, V., M. McKee, and D. A. Leon (2001). “Changes in Life Expectancy in Russia in the Mid-1990s,” The Lancet 357: 917–921.
Stillman, S. (2006). “Health and Nutrition in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union during the Decade of Transition: A Review of the Literature,” Economics and Human Biology 4: 104–146.
United Nations Development Program [UNDP] (1990–2011). Human Development Report. New York: Oxford University Press.
Van Zanden, J. L. (2001). “Rich and Poor before the Industrial Revolution: A Comparison between Java and the Netherlands at the Beginning of the 19th Century,” Explorations in Economic History 40: 1–23.
Van Zanden, J. L., J. Baten, P. Foldvari, and B. van Leeuwen (2013). “The Changing Shape of Global Inequality, 1820–2000: Exploring a New Dataset,” Review of Income and Wealth 59(4).
Vanhanen, T. (2011), Measures of Democracy 1810–2010 [computer file]. FSD1289, version 5.0 (2011–07–07). Tampere: Finnish Social Science Data Archive. Available at (accessed July 23, 2012).
Waldenström, D. (2009). Lifting All Boats? The Evolution of Income and Wealth Inequality over the Path of Development. Lund: Lund Studies in Economic History.
Ward; M. and J. Devereux (2010). “The Absolution of History: Cuban Living Standards after Fifty Years of Revolutionary Rule” (unpublished).
Ward; M. and J. Devereux (2012). “The Road Not Taken: Pre-Revolutionary Cuban Living Standards in Comparative Perspective,” Journal of Economic History 72: 104–132.
Williamson, J. G. (1995). “The Evolution of Global Labor Markets since 1830: Background Evidence and Hypotheses,” Explorations in Economic History 32: 141–196.
Williamson, J. G. (2002). “Land, Labor, and Globalization in the Third World, 1870–1940,” Journal of Economic History 62: 55–85.