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Institutions and their Measures: A Black Box of Goodies


  • Hansson, Gustav

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)


The use of institutional measures in empirical work is widespread, but the question of what these measures actually capture and how they are constructed is something that is not given enough attention. Institutions and their measures are therefore like a “black box of goodies”: Something that we do not know much about but at the same time is given a very prominent role in explaining economic development. This paper is an attempt to deepen our understanding of institutional measures by critically examining four measures that have been given a prominent role in the recent literature on economic development.

Suggested Citation

  • Hansson, Gustav, 2006. "Institutions and their Measures: A Black Box of Goodies," Working Papers in Economics 206, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0206

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
    2. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
    3. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294.
    4. North, Douglass C, 1994. "Economic Performance through Time," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 359-368, June.
    5. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    6. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Process of Global Integration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 1-118.
    7. repec:hrv:faseco:30747160 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Hansson, Gustav, 2008. "Same Same but Different? A Comparison of Institutional Models," Working Papers in Economics 329, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Institutions; Measurement; Methodology;

    JEL classification:

    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General
    • C82 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data; Data Access
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies

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