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Economic historians have recently made great progress in studying the past by applying the tools and concepts of New Institutional Economics. A fundamental element of this achievement has been to go beyond the narrow confines of previous approaches. Whereas the application of narrow neoclassical economic analysis typically lacked an appreciation for the role of history and focused primarily on the efficiency properties of institutions, the new trend has been to integrate economic and historical approaches for richer and more comprehensive explanations of how and why history mattered. Similarly, whereas unsystematic historical approaches lacked sound theoretical bases and proceeded narrowly by focusing on how previous customs and traditions were responsible for the existence of an institution, the new approach has been also to examine the properties of the institution that ensured its survival.
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