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Institutions and Development: What We (Think We) Know, What We Would Like to Know

  • Paul G. Hare
  • Junior R. Davis

This paper takes the form of an extended literature review, outlining the key ideas that will need to be developed further in the course of the IPPG Research Programme. After an extended introduction, the next two sections are conceptual, the former elucidating key concepts and definitions, the latter examining various approaches to the analysis of institutions relevant for economic growth. Then the paper reviews much of the available evidence linking institutions and growth and covers in some detail the evidence regarding economic institutions, confirming that institutions matter. However, the findings from different studies are far from consistent in terms of identifying exactly what it is that matters. Given the prevalence of weak or poorly functioning states amongst the poorest countries of the world, the paper also reviews literature on the political aspects of development, particularly in relation to the role of institutions. Likewise, the paper selectively illustrates the ideas of earlier sections through the discussion of two topics: trade policy and the institutions needed for it to work well; and institutions that make for a good business environment. The final section outlines some preliminary working hypotheses about institutions and development. While emphasising pro-poor growth throughout, the paper finds that growth itself is a fundamental, necessary condition for achieving pro-poor growth. Given that, a serious analysis of institutions and growth must pay attention to the need for institutions that foster and promote profit-seeking accumulation (without which little sustained growth is likely to occur).

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File URL: http://www.sml.hw.ac.uk/downloads/cert/wpa/2006/dp0603.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University in its series CERT Discussion Papers with number 0603.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:hwe:certdp:0603
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  1. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane, 1997. "The Benefits of Privatization: Evidence from Mexico," NBER Working Papers 6215, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Friedrich Schneider, 2005. "Shadow Economies of 145 Countries all over the World: What Do We Really Know?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2005-13, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  3. Mark Schaffer & Gerard Turley, 2000. "Effective versus Statutory Taxation: Measuring Effective Tax Administration in Transition Economies," CERT Discussion Papers 0008, Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University.
  4. Simeon Djankov & Peter Murrell, 2002. "Enterprise Restructuring in Transition: A Quantitative Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(3), pages 739-792, September.
  5. World Bank, 2005. "Economic Growth in the 1990s : Learning from a Decade of Reform," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7370, April.
  6. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Meleu, Mathieu, 1999. "A Positive Theory of Privatisation for Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 8(0), pages 30-67, December.
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