IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this book

Scarcity, Conflicts, and Cooperation: Essays in the Political and Institutional Economics of Development


  • Pranab Bardhan

    (University of California, Berkeley)


This wide-ranging review of some of the major issues in development economics focuses on the role of economic and political institutions. Drawing on the latest findings in institutional economics and political economy, Pranab Bardhan, a leader in the field of development economics, offers a relatively nontechnical discussion of current thinking on these issues from the viewpoint of poor countries, synthesizing recent research and reflecting on where we stand today. The institutional framework of an economy defines and constrains the opportunities of individuals, determines the business climate, and shapes the incentives and organizations for collective action on the part of communities; Pranab Bardhan finds the institutional framework to be relatively weak in many poor countries. Institutional failures, weak accountability mechanisms, and missed opportunities for cooperative problem-solving become the themes of the book, with the role of distributive conflicts in the persistence of dysfunctional institutions a common thread. Special issues taken up include the institutions for securing property rights and resolving coordination failures; the structural basis of power; commitment devices and political accountability; the complex relationship between democracy and poverty (with examples from India, where both have been durable); decentralization and devolution of power; persistence of corruption; ethnic conflicts; and impediments to collective action. Formal models are largely avoided, except in two chapters where Bardhan briefly introduces new models to elucidate currently under-researched areas. Other chapters review existing models, emphasizing the essential ideas rather than the formal details. Thus the book will be valuable not only for economists but also for social scientists and policymakers.

Suggested Citation

  • Pranab Bardhan, 2004. "Scarcity, Conflicts, and Cooperation: Essays in the Political and Institutional Economics of Development," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262524295, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:mtp:titles:0262524295

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1997. "On the Number and Size of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1027-1056.
    2. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth through Creative Destruction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 323-351, March.
    3. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
    4. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong-Wha, 1993. "International comparisons of educational attainment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 363-394, December.
    5. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1962. "The Economic Implications of Learning by Doing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(3), pages 155-173.
    6. Alesina, Alberto & Summers, Lawrence H, 1993. "Central Bank Independence and Macroeconomic Performance: Some Comparative Evidence," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(2), pages 151-162, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Furusawa, Taiji & Kawakami, Toshikazu, 2008. "Gradual cooperation in the existence of outside options," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 378-389, November.
    2. Bardhan, Pranab & Luca, Michael & Mookherjee, Dilip & Pino, Francisco, 2014. "Evolution of land distribution in West Bengal 1967–2004: Role of land reform and demographic changes," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 171-190.
    3. Katsushi Imai & Raghav Gaiha & Ganesh Thapa, 2009. "Has Poverty Reduction Slowed Down in the Developing World? Evidence Based on New Poverty Estimates," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 0902, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    4. Bharatee Bhusana Dash & Sami Angara V. Raja, 2009. "Institutions and the quality of governance: an empirical study on interstate differences in economic development in India," Asia-Pacific Development Journal, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), vol. 16(1), pages 1-26, June.

    More about this item


    economic development; institutions;

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mtp:titles:0262524295. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kristin Waites). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.