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Economic History:An Endangered Discipline

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The dominant paradigm guiding research in economic history held that the market-oriented policies of British colonial rule led India to underdevelopment and poverty. In the past, the idea appealed to economists because it provided independent India's pursuit of socialist policies with an ideological basis. After the return to market in the 1990s, the compatibility between history and policy was undermined leading to progressive irrelevance of history. In order to restore the link between history and economics, we need to replace narratives centred on colonial power with narratives that take structural features, especially resource-endowments, more seriously.

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