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How (Not) to Measure Institutions

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  • Stefan Voigt

    () (Philipps-University Marburg)

Abstract

The statement “institutions matter” has become commonplace. A precondition for it to be supported by empirical evidence, is, however, that institutions are measurable. Glaeser et al. (2004) attacks many studies claiming to prove the relevance of institutions for economic development as being based on flawed measures of institutions, or not even on institutions at all. This paper shows that their criticism deserves to be taken seriously, but that it is somewhat overblown. Some of the difficulties in measuring institutions are described and some ways of measuring them are proposed.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefan Voigt, 2009. "How (Not) to Measure Institutions," MAGKS Papers on Economics 200937, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  • Handle: RePEc:mar:magkse:200937
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    File URL: http://www.uni-marburg.de/fb02/makro/forschung/magkspapers/37-2009_voigt.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2009
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    Keywords

    Institutions; Institutions vs. Policies; Measurement; Formal vs. Informal Institutions;

    JEL classification:

    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • K00 - Law and Economics - - General - - - General (including Data Sources and Description)
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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