Long-Term Processes of Socio-Economic Development

Begin: Nov 20 '15, 9:30 am | End: Nov 21 '15, 4:00 pm | Schloss Herrenhausen
professional audience

On November 20-21, 2015, researchers and international experts on socio-economic processes in national economies met in Hanover, Germany, for a Herrenhausen Conference.

Illustrating the gap between rich and poor on a national level: Rio de Janeiro. Chensiyuan, GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)

Illustrating the gap between rich and poor on a national level: Rio de Janeiro. (Photo: Chensiyuan via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0 http://creativecommons.org/Licenses/by-sa/2.0)

Link: Summary Report: Herrenhausen Conference "Long-Term Processes of Socio-Economic Development"

"Why are we so rich and they so poor?" - This succinctly phrased citation of such poignant political, social and economic significance - attributed to David Landes in the 1990s - has been at the heart of controversial debate in both economics and the social sciences since the eighteenth century at least. Ultimately, any attempt to answer the question calls for a better understanding of long-term processes of economic development, and critical analysis of the factors impacting such processes.

Existing theories mostly grasp economic development - at least under conditions of market economy - as a relatively stable process of growth, as result of which the technological and economic parameters steadily improve. It is postulated that interruptions to this process are solely a consequence of structural hiccups within the complex mesh of economic sectors. The latest global financial and economic crisis, though, has once more irrefutably shown that in reality socio-economic development processes by no means follow long-term, relatively stable paths of equilibrium: rather, they are subject to upheavals, asynchronies, and asymmetries that every now and then give rise to crises of varying severity and duration. Moreover, a glance at history reveals it was only in the past 200 years that we could observe a relatively continuous increase in wealth - and that this certainly does not constitute a global phenomenon.

The Herrenhausen Conference address this problem by revisiting the "old" but ongoing inquiry into the character, dynamics, and determinants of long-term socio-economic processes in national economies.

Conference Topics at a Glance

Which new insights on long-term development processes can be gained by taking into account the impact of divergent and historically changing economic cultures and institutions?

To what extent are crucial turning points in socio-economic development processes triggered by crises and change? If these are both seen as inherent components of the process, is it possible to identify new explanatory models?

How do individual, institutional and societal patterns of learning and historical experience influence the long-term development of economies? To what extent can differences in individual and societal preferences shed light on the resilience of economic systems and societies as well as their ability to manage change? How are these factors interacting and how do they manifest themselves? What is the effect of unstable dynamics in other areas like demographic transitions, for instance?

Which economic and regulatory measures present themselves in respect of critical resources?

Session 1: Determinants of Long-run Development and Global Differences in Economic Performance

Session 2: Transitions and Crises as Determinants of Development?

Session 3: Learning for the Future: The Role of Demographic Change, Preferences, Culture and Experience

Program Committee

Prof. Dr. Alexander Ebner, University of Frankfurt

Prof. Dr. Margrit Grabas, Saarland University

Prof. Dr. Uwe Sunde, University of Munich

Herrenhausen Conferences

With its Herrenhausen Conferences the Volkswagen Foundation provides international experts as well as junior researchers with a platform for an intense interdisciplinary dialogue on exciting new areas of research and innovative methodological approaches. The main focus of the conferences does lie on the current challenges faced by each research area rather than on further in-depth discussions and analyses of individual well-established topics. We are interested in unanswered questions and unsolved problems - and in the respective research field's relevance for society.