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Douglass C. North, 1993 Nobel laureate in economics, Spencer T. Olin Professor of Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, delivers the 1999 Centennial Lecture.

Professor North approaches the fundamental question of why some countries are rich and others poor by focusing his analysis on the political and legal framework for economic growth and the connection between economic change, technical development and institutional conditions.

Recognized for his pioneering work in "the new institutional economics," an approach emphasizing the importance of institutions in economic growth, Professor North was co-recipient of the 1993 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and was the first economic historian ever to win the economics profession's prestigious John R. Commons Award. He has done path-breaking work in economic history as well as development economics.

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