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The Emergence of Institutions

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  • Sanchez-Pages Santiago

    ()
    (University of Edinburgh)

  • Straub Stéphane

    ()
    (Université de Toulouse)

Abstract

This paper analyses how institutions aimed at coordinating economic interactions may emerge. Starting from a hypothetical state of nature, agents can delegate the task of enforcing cooperation to one of them in exchange for a proper compensation. Both individual and collective commitment problems stand in the way of institution formation. These problems imply first that a potentially efficient institution may fail to emerge and also that if it emerges, it may do so inefficiently. We show that big and untrustworthy societies are more likely to support institutions whereas their emergence is more difficult in small and trusting societies, but if institutions do emerge, they tend to be more inefficient in the former type of societies. Finally, we show that the threat of secession by a subset of agents may alleviate the latter problem.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

Volume (Year): 10 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
Pages: 1-38

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:10:y:2010:i:1:n:84

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Cited by:
  1. Konrad, Kai A & Leininger, Wolfgang, 2007. "Self-enforcing Norms and the Efficient Non-cooperative Organization of Clans," CEPR Discussion Papers 6333, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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