Review Questions



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Review Questions





  1. Describe the economic organization of a typical Manor (Open Field Village). Overall do you think this form of organization promoted or discouraged economic growth during the middle ages? What evidence can you cite to support your answer?

  2. Did technological change play an important role in growth or Europe and China before the industrial revolution in Europe? How do you know?

  3. Describe the record of economic growth in China during the Sung Dynasty. Was it positive or negative? Did the government promote or hinder growth? Give specific examples.

  4. According to many politicians and journalists today the United States is doomed to a future of economic decline unless the government funds research in new technologies and subsidizes the growth of certain "key" industries. Based on what you have learned about Europe and China before the England’s industrial revolution, do you think government should be actively involved in technological change? Support your answers with specific examples.

  5. Both the population increase in Europe prior to the Black Death and the population decrease associated with the Black Death have been proposed as a cause of the decline of feudalism. Explain both arguments. Are these explanations inconsistent? Why or Why not?

  6. Use North's theory of the state to explain why the changes in military technology which took place at the end of the Medieval period, contributed to the decline of feudalism and the rise of the nation state.

  7. Use North’s theory of the state to explain the pattern of growth observed in France, Spain, Netherlands, England and China. How well does it explain what is observed.

  8. Is the following statement true or false? Explain your answer. The discovery of the “New World” was an important factor in explaining economic growth of the European economy before industrialization.

  9. What were the major changes in European financial institutions before the Industrial Revolution? What were the major factors which influenced their development? Give specific examples. (Your answer should include a discussion of money, credit and banking)

  10. How was the development of financial institutions similar in China, Europe and Islamic Empire? How was it different? What are some of the factors that caused the differences? Give specific examples.

  11. Did the government policy tend to encourage or discourage the development of these institutions? Give specific examples. (Your answer should include a discussion of money, credit and banking)

12. Three institutions, manorialism, feudalism and serfdom dominated western Europe until the 14 th century. In what ways did these institutions encourage economic growth? In what ways did they discourage economic growth? What evidence can you give to support your answer?

13 “ The existence of the states is essential for economic growth; the state, however, is the source of man-made economic decline.” Resolve this paradox using example from Europe prior to the Industrial Revolution. Your answer should discuss North’s theory of why states exist and its implications of economic growth.


14. Trade disputes in Europe were more often resolved with formal institutions than in China where private institutions were more common. What is the difference between formal and private institutions? Is one type necessarily more efficient than another? Explain.


  1. What are some of the differences between how manufacturing was structured in China vs. Europe before the industrial revolution? What were some of the consequences of these differences?

16. China and Europe had very different political structures before the Industrial Revolution. China had a relatively strong central government and Europe was fragmented into many smaller political units. What were the consequences of these differences, both positive and negative, for economic growth? Give specific examples.


17.China’s falling behind Europe can be explained by lack of markets. Is this statement true or false? Explain your answer.
18. What were the differences in family structure between China and Europe? What impact, if any, did these differences have on economic and population growth?
19. Use the Malthusian model to explain what will could cause population change. What will the impact be on per capita income? Is it possible to have both rising per capita income and rising population? Explain using a graph.
20. What are some of the problems of measuring economic growth, especially from a historical perspective?

Identification: be able to identify and briefly explain the importance of :



  1. Enclosure Movement

  2. Backward Projection

  3. Scattered Strips

  4. The Black Death

  5. Fairs of Champagne

  6. Bills of exchange

  7. Sung Dynasty

  8. Serfdom

  9. feudalism


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