DANIEL W. BROMLEY

Anderson-Bascom Professor of Applied Economics (Emeritus)

University of Wisconsin-Madison

and

Visiting Professor

Humboldt University-Berlin

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Welcome to my home page.  Below are links to a brief bio-sketch and to a partial C.V.  Following that you will find links to a few of my recent papers.

 

My research concerns the institutional foundations of an economy.  Economic institutions constitute the legal architecture of markets and of market processes.  All economies are constituted by their legal structures that give content to market processes and existing property regimes.  I am interested in the existing institutional arrangements in an economy, and I am interested in the process of institutional change.  My current research has two dominant themes--one of them philosophical and one of them empirical. 

 

The philosophical aspect, in which I develop the concept of volitional pragmatism, is spelled out in my 2006 book:  SUFFICIENT REASON: Volitional Pragmatism and the Meaning of Economic Institutions (Princeton University Press, 2006).  The Amazon link is:  SUFFICIENT REASON . There is a Chinese version available from Shanghai People's Publishing House, No. 193 Fujian Zhong Rd., Shanghai 200001, China.

 

Volitional pragmatism offers a new approach to human action--one that challenges standard rational choice models central to economics.  In volitional pragmatism individuals "work out" what they want in the way of choice and action as they come to understand the choices available to them.  Volitional pragmatism builds on the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Friedrich Nietzsche, Charles Sanders Peirce, John Dewey, John R. Commons, Thorstein Veblen, and Richard Rorty. Because institutional change re-constitutes the legal architecture of an economy, the meaning of economic institutions can only be understood as a collective assertion about what purposes are to be served by that legal architecture.  In other words, whose interests count, and how do individuals arrive at collective decisions in parliaments to answer the age-old question: “what is the better thing to do right now to solve this particular problem?”  Utility maximization is not a reason for choice and action. Individuals find their reasons when confronted with the necessity of choice.

 

 


The empirical aspect of my current research concerns the on-going problem of immiserization in much of Africa and the Middle East. Political unrest from Pakistan right across North Africa adds to the urgency of reconsidering the concepts and practice of development assistance.  My latest book (with Glen D. Anderson) is entitled VULNERABLE PEOPLE, VULNERABLE STATES: Redefining the Development Challenge (Routledge, 2012).

 

The history of development assistance is a long list of initiatives that go in and out of fashion—import substitution, infant-industries, appropriate technology, structural adjustment, micro-finance, sustainable development, the Washington Consensus, eliminating corruption, fighting poverty, and now the Millennium Development Goals. Throughout this period of serial thematic fixes, the expectation has always been that the remaining poor countries would achieve “economic growth and development” and thus the persistent divisions of rich and poor, industrial and agrarian, would eventually disappear. Economic convergence would eliminate long-standing disparities in social and economic conditions. Despite the very best efforts, and billions of dollars of foreign assistance, over 50 years of concerted development assistance has failed to produce economic convergence.

 

The quest for convergence has not solved poverty, nor has fighting poverty brought about convergence. Neither has the standard development approach, enhancing economic growth, produced economic coherence. The urgent development priority is not to fight poverty, nor is it to induce economic growth.  Both of those outcomes—poverty, the absence of growth—are mere symptoms of economies that fail to function as they must if vulnerable people and vulnerable states are to be rescued from their malaise.

 

We argue that the traditional emphasis on economic convergence must now be replaced by an emphasis on creating economic coherence. This new focus on economic coherence underwrites a programmatic commitment to the manifold fragilities of vulnerable people and vulnerable states. 

 

A focus on vulnerability starts from the premise that the underlying causal structures and processes of the economies of Africa and much of the Middle East are not coherent. Families and nations are vulnerable precisely because the economy is not responsive and adaptive. In many settings, post-colonial governments have continued the extraction of economic surplus, with the only difference being that the economic rents now accrue to indigenous leaders and their ravenous coterie rather than to the colonial economies of Europe.  The ironic expression of this problem is “Same car, different driver.”

 

We suggest that many political problems can be better understood, and more easily meliorated, if the focus of development assistance is shifted away from stimulating GDP growth and fighting poverty. 

 

Development assistance must now be refocused on the vexing problems and challenges facing vulnerable people and vulnerable states. These problems can only be rectified by programs that enhance economic coherence.

 

 


Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: \\SAGOLA.aae.wisc.edu\dbromley\public_html\bd10263_.gif  BIO-SKETCH   

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: \\SAGOLA.aae.wisc.edu\dbromley\public_html\bd10263_.gif  PARTIAL C.V. 

                                       


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 "Soon enough, I discovered an interesting fact: if a writer doesn't put in hours at the keyboard every day, no writing gets done."  Eloisa James

 

RECENT PAPERS AND PUBLICATIONS                 

    (click on the button at left for a pdf version)

  Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: \\SAGOLA.aae.wisc.edu\dbromley\public_html\bd10263_.gifClimate, Carbon, Civil War, and Flexible Boundaries: Sudan’s Contested Landscape (Land Use Policy 28:907-16, 2011) (with Charles Chavunduka).

  Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: \\SAGOLA.aae.wisc.edu\dbromley\public_html\bd10263_.gifSustainability Under Siege: Transport Costs and Corruption on West Africa’s Trade Corridors (Natural Resources Forum 35:32-48, 2011) (with Jeremy Foltz).

  Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: \\SAGOLA.aae.wisc.edu\dbromley\public_html\bd10263_.gif  Beyond the Crisis in Zimbabwe: Sorting Out the Land Question (Development Southern Africa September 2007) (with Charles Chavunduka).

  Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: \\SAGOLA.aae.wisc.edu\dbromley\public_html\bd10263_.gif  Abdicating Responsibility: The Deceits of Fisheries Policy (Fisheries 34(6):280-302).

  Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: \\SAGOLA.aae.wisc.edu\dbromley\public_html\bd10263_.gif  The Crisis in Ocean Governance: Conceptual Confusion, Spurious Economics, Political Indifference (MAST: Maritime Studies, 6(2):7-54, 2008).
 

  Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: \\SAGOLA.aae.wisc.edu\dbromley\public_html\bd10263_.gif  On the Origins and Evolving Role of Money (Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, 164:624-51, 2008, with Jean-Paul Chavas).

  Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: \\SAGOLA.aae.wisc.edu\dbromley\public_html\bd10263_.gif  Volitional Pragmatism (Ecological Economics, 68:1-13, 2008).

  Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: \\SAGOLA.aae.wisc.edu\dbromley\public_html\bd10263_.gif  Beyond Market Failure: Volitional Pragmatism as a New Theory of Public Policy (Economia Politica, 25(2):219-41, 2008).

  Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: \\SAGOLA.aae.wisc.edu\dbromley\public_html\bd10263_.gif   Editorial on South Africa's failed land reform program (Business Day, August 7, 2007).

 

  Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: \\SAGOLA.aae.wisc.edu\dbromley\public_html\bd10263_.gif   Resource Degradation in the African Commons: Accounting for Institutional Decay (Environment and Development Economics, 13:539-63, 2008).

 

  Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: \\SAGOLA.aae.wisc.edu\dbromley\public_html\bd10263_.gif   Environmental Regulations and the Problem of Sustainability: Moving Beyond "Market Failure" (Ecological Economics, 63:676-83, 2007).

 

  Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: \\SAGOLA.aae.wisc.edu\dbromley\public_html\bd10263_.gif   Formalising Property Relations in the Developing World: The Wrong Prescription for the Wrong Malady (Land Use Policy, 26:20-27, 2008).

 

  Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: \\SAGOLA.aae.wisc.edu\dbromley\public_html\bd10263_.gif   Understanding China’s Economic Transformation: Are There Lessons Here for the Developing World? (World Economics, 7(2):73-95, 2006).

 
  Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: \\SAGOLA.aae.wisc.edu\dbromley\public_html\bd10263_.gif   Modeling Population and Resource Scarcity in 14th Century England, (Journal of Agr. Economics 56(2):217-37, 2005), (with Jean-Paul Chavas).     

 

  Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: \\SAGOLA.aae.wisc.edu\dbromley\public_html\bd10263_.gif   Reconsidering Environmental Policy: Prescriptive Consequentialism and Volitional Pragmatism, (Environmental and Resource Economics, 28(1):73-99, May 2004).  

 

  Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: \\SAGOLA.aae.wisc.edu\dbromley\public_html\bd10263_.gif   Property Rights: Locke, Kant, Peirce and the Logic of Volitional Pragmatism (in: Private Property in the 21st Century, ed. by Harvey M. Jacobs, Cheltenham, U.K.: Elgar, 2004, chapter 2).