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The Institutional Foundations of Public Policy: A Transactions Approach with Application to Argentina

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  • Pablo T. Spiller

Abstract

Public policies are the outcomes of complex intertemporal exchanges among politicians. The political institutions of a country constitute the framework within which these transactions are accomplished. We develop a transactions theory to understand the ways in which political institutions affect the transactions that political actors are able to undertake, and hence the quality of the policies that emerge. We argue that Argentina is a case in which the functioning of political institutions has inhibited the capacity to undertake efficient intertemporal political exchanges. We use positive political theory and transaction cost economics to explain the workings of Argentine political institutions and to show how their operation gives rise to low-quality policies. Copyright 2003, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization.

Volume (Year): 19 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
Pages: 281-306

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:19:y:2003:i:2:p:281-306

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References

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  1. McCubbins, Mathew D & Noll, Roger G & Weingast, Barry R, 1987. "Administrative Procedures as Instruments of Political Control," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 243-77, Fall.
  2. Ramseyer, J Mark & Rasmusen, Eric B, 1997. "Judicial Independence in a Civil Law Regime: The Evidence from Japan," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(2), pages 259-86, October.
  3. Palmer, Matthew S R, 1995. "Toward an Economics of Comparative Political Organization: Examining Ministerial Responsibility," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 164-88, April.
  4. Mariano Tommasi & Matias Iaryczower & Pablo T. Spiller, 2002. "Judicial Decision Making in Unstable Environments, Argentina 1935-1998," Working Papers 30, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Oct 2002.
  5. Jones, Mark P. & Sanguinetti, Pablo & Tommasi, Mariano, 2000. "Politics, institutions, and fiscal performance in a federal system: an analysis of the Argentine provinces," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 305-333, April.
  6. North, D.C., 1990. "A Transaction Cost Theory of Politics," Papers 144, Washington St. Louis - School of Business and Political Economy.
  7. Juan Pablo Nicolini & Josefina Posadas & Juan Sanguinetti & Pablo Sanguinetti & Mariano Tommasi, 2002. "Decentralization, Fiscal Discipline in Sub-National Governments and the Bailout Problem: The Case of Argentina," Research Department Publications 3160, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  8. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
  9. Moe, Terry M, 1990. "Political Institutions: The Neglected Side of the Story," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(0), pages 213-53.
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