Institutions and Economic Performance

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Overview

Institutions and Economic Performance explores the question of why income per capita varies so greatly across countries. Even taking into account disparities in resources, including physical and human capital, large economic discrepancies remain across countries. Why are some societies but not others able to encourage investments in places, people, and productivity?

The answer, the book argues, lies to a large extent in institutional differences across societies. Such institutions are wide-ranging and include formal constitutional arrangements, the role of economic and political elites, informal institutions that promote investment and knowledge transfer, and others. Two core themes run through the contributors’ essays. First, what constraints do institutions place on the power of the executive to prevent it from extorting the investments and effort of other people and institutions? Second, when are productive institutions self-enforcing?

Institutions and Economic Performance is unique in its melding of economics, political science, history, and sociology to address its central question.

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Editorial Reviews

Nathan Sussman
A first-rate book that bridges theory, history, and empirical analysis.
Daniel Trefler
Why are some societies but not others able to encourage investments in places, people, and productivity? This book delivers a powerful message that the answer lies in large part in institutional differences across societies. It is the most successful interdisciplinary endeavor in the social sciences that I have ever had the pleasure to read.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674030770
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2008
  • Pages: 624
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Elhanan Helpman is Galen L. Stone Professor of International Trade at Harvard University and the author of many research articles and books.
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Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Introduction


  1. Part One: History
  2. The Impact of Administrative Power on Political and Economic Developments: Toward a Political Economy of Implementation Avner Greif
  3. The Institutional Origins of the Industrial Revolution Joel Mokyr
  4. Institutions and the Resource Curse in Early Modern Spain Mauricio Drelichman and Hans-Joachim Voth
  5. Slavery, Inequality, and Economic Development in the Americas: An Examination of the Engerman-Sokoloff Hypothesis Nathan Nunn
  6. Economic and Political Inequality in Development: The Case of Cundinamarca, Colombia Daron Acemoglu, Maria Angelica Bautista, Pablo Querubin and James Robinson

  7. Part Two: Theory
  8. The Constitutional Choice of Bicameralism Abhinay Muthoo and Kenneth A. Shepsle
  9. Economic Development, Insurgency, and Civil War James D. Fearon
  10. Party Discipline and Pork-Barrel Politics Gene Grossman and Elhanan Helpman
  11. Policy Persistence in Multi-Party Parliamentary Democracies Daniel Diermeier and Pohan Fong

  12. Part Three: Contemporary Evidence
  13. Formalizing Informal Institutions: Theory and Evidence From a Kenyan Slum Siwan Anderson and Patrick Francois
  14. Making Autocracy Work Timothy Besley and Masayuki Kudamatsu
  15. Democracy, Technology and Growth Philippe Aghion, Alberto Alesina and Francesco Trebbi
  16. The Growth Effect of Democracy: Is it Heterogeneous and How Can it Be Estimated? Torsten Persson and Guido Tabellini

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