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On the survival of imperfect institutions

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  • Thrainn Eggertsson

    () (Department of Economics, University of Iceland, Iceland/Department of Politics, New York University,)

Abstract

When social structures are stable and social systems yield expected and desirable results, there is relatively less demand for institutional economics than during times of change. Surge of interest in institutional analysis usually comes during times when countries contemplate basic reform. The 1980s and early 1990s were such a period. NIE offered a fresh way of thinking about economic organization and its broader social context and immediately caught the attention of reformers. Yet the original contributions rarely dealt explicitly with institutional policy. This paper is concerned with the lessons of NIE for major reform or institutional policy. I particularly emphasize opportunities and limits for reform that reflect the knowledge problem as well as political and social responses to reform. Social science has not developed a comprehensive theory of social systems; rather we have accumulated bits of useful insights, often without explicitly knowing in what circumstances the insights apply. The main purpose of this paper is to discuss the lessons of modern institutional theory for institutional reform.

Suggested Citation

  • Thrainn Eggertsson, 2006. "On the survival of imperfect institutions," Revista de Analisis Economico – Economic Analysis Review, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines, vol. 21(2), pages 13-24, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ila:anaeco:v:21:y:2006:i:2:p:13-24
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
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    3. Berkowitz, Daniel & Pistor, Katharina & Richard, Jean-Francois, 2003. "Economic development, legality, and the transplant effect," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 165-195, February.
    4. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
    5. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Supply-Side Economics: An Analytical Review," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 293-316, April.
    6. Johansen, Leif, 1974. "Establishing preference functions for macroeconomic decision models : Some observations on Ragnar Frisch's contributions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 41-66, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ewa Gruszewska, 2011. "Disintegration in ana institutionalized world," Ekonomia i Prawo, Uniwersytet Mikolaja Kopernika, vol. 7(1), pages 49-66, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Institutional Reform; Social Technologies; Knowledge Problem; Political and Social Reaction.;

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government

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