Shanghai skyline at night

中国的制度改革挑战

香港—上个月,一位将经济理论应用于历史分析并提供了制度和社会变迁宝贵洞见的教授、诺贝尔经济学奖获得者道格拉斯·诺斯(Douglass North)在密歇根州的家中去世。但他的思想是不朽的,特别是在中国。诺斯从未专研中国的制度发展,但他的理论框架却能够让中国领导人在引领中国下一阶段制度变迁时获得宝贵的启发。

在1993年的诺贝尔奖演讲中,诺斯提出了决策者可以从他的研究中汲取的三个教训。首先,决定经济表现的是“正式规则、潜规则和执法特征”的结合。其次,政治对经济表现具有强烈影响,因为政治“决定并执行经济规则”。最后,适应效率(adaptive efficiency,即规则如何变化),而不是配置效率(allocative efficiency,当下的规则是否最有效),是长期增长的关键。

这些教训与启发来自诺斯对西欧制度和经济发展的研究及评估。他将欧洲的工业革命归因于两个关键因素:一个是为数众多的不同信仰体系的存在,另一个是新兴主权力量之间和内部的激烈竞争。具体而言,英国人和荷兰人创造了多样化的政治/经济单位,这些经济单位演化为促成专业化和劳动分工的经济制度。这些经济制度通过更低的交易成本、明晰且可执法的产权以及其他公共领域的规则和规范带来了超凡的经济和政治表现。

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