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Book review: Ian W. McLean. Why Australia prospered: The shifting sources of economic growth

Journal Article


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Abstract


  • In a series of articles written over many years, Ian W.

    McLean has addressed the dual questions of how Australia

    attained high levels of prosperity less than a century

    after European settlement and why it has since remained

    amongst the wealthiest of nations. Although

    this book is not a comprehensive study of Australian

    economic history, it builds on this earlier body of work

    and brings together his answers to these questions. It is

    engagingly written, helped by the minimal use of technical

    material and the creation of counterfactual scenarios

    in several places. Most important of all is

    McLean’s impressive use of the comparative approach.

    While arguing that Australia’s path of development has

    been strongly shaped by international influences—immigration,

    investment, trade, and political institutions—

    he interrogates closely its performance relative

    to that of other specific nations to tease out national

    differences as well. These are appropriately selected in

    most cases: the role of differences in land ownership

    patterns and political institutions with Argentina, or the

    greater connection of Canada’s timber and grain industries

    to manufacturing than Australia’s wool and mining.

    However, New Zealand might have featured more

    strongly in the comparative story.

Publication Date


  • 2013

Citation


  • Ville, S. (2013). Book review: Ian W. McLean. Why Australia prospered: The shifting sources of economic growth. American Historical Review, 118 (4), 1170-1171.

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1248&context=buspapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/buspapers/246

Number Of Pages


  • 1

Start Page


  • 1170

End Page


  • 1171

Volume


  • 118

Issue


  • 4

Place Of Publication


  • United States

Abstract


  • In a series of articles written over many years, Ian W.

    McLean has addressed the dual questions of how Australia

    attained high levels of prosperity less than a century

    after European settlement and why it has since remained

    amongst the wealthiest of nations. Although

    this book is not a comprehensive study of Australian

    economic history, it builds on this earlier body of work

    and brings together his answers to these questions. It is

    engagingly written, helped by the minimal use of technical

    material and the creation of counterfactual scenarios

    in several places. Most important of all is

    McLean’s impressive use of the comparative approach.

    While arguing that Australia’s path of development has

    been strongly shaped by international influences—immigration,

    investment, trade, and political institutions—

    he interrogates closely its performance relative

    to that of other specific nations to tease out national

    differences as well. These are appropriately selected in

    most cases: the role of differences in land ownership

    patterns and political institutions with Argentina, or the

    greater connection of Canada’s timber and grain industries

    to manufacturing than Australia’s wool and mining.

    However, New Zealand might have featured more

    strongly in the comparative story.

Publication Date


  • 2013

Citation


  • Ville, S. (2013). Book review: Ian W. McLean. Why Australia prospered: The shifting sources of economic growth. American Historical Review, 118 (4), 1170-1171.

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1248&context=buspapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/buspapers/246

Number Of Pages


  • 1

Start Page


  • 1170

End Page


  • 1171

Volume


  • 118

Issue


  • 4

Place Of Publication


  • United States