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The Institutional Foundations of Public Policy: A Transactions Approach with Application to Argentina

Author

Listed:
  • Mariano Tommasi

    () (Department of Economics, Universidad de San Andres & Center of Studies for Institutional Development)

  • Pablo T. Spiller

    (University of California at Berkeley & Center of Studies for Institutional Development)

Abstract

Public policies are the outcomes of complex intertemporal exchanges among politicians. The basic institutional characteristics of a country constitute the framework within which those transactions are accomplished. We develop a transactions theory to understand the ways in which political institutions affect the transactions that political actors are able to undertake, and hence the policies that emerge. We argue that Argentina is a case in which the functioning of political institutions has been such that it prevented the capacity to undertake efficient intertemporal political exchanges. We use positive political theory and transaction cost economics to explain the workings of Argentine political institutions, and to show how that maps into low-quality policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Mariano Tommasi & Pablo T. Spiller, 2000. "The Institutional Foundations of Public Policy: A Transactions Approach with Application to Argentina," Working Papers 29, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised May 2000.
  • Handle: RePEc:sad:wpaper:29
    as

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    File URL: ftp://webacademicos.udesa.edu.ar/pub/econ/doc29.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:83:y:1989:i:04:p:1181-1206_08 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Williamson, Oliver E, 1979. "Transaction-Cost Economics: The Governance of Contractural Relations," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 233-261, October.
    3. Douglass C. North, 1990. "A Transaction Cost Theory of Politics," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 2(4), pages 355-367, October.
    4. Juan Pablo Nicolini & Josefina Posadas & Juan Sanguinetti & Pablo Sanguinetti & Mariano Tommasi, 2002. "Decentralization, Fiscal Discipline in Sub-National Governments and the Bailout Problem: The Case of Argentina," Research Department Publications 3160, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    5. Mariano Tommasi & Matias Iaryczower & Pablo T. Spiller, 2002. "Judicial Decision Making in Unstable Environments, Argentina 1935-1998," Working Papers 30, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Oct 2002.
    6. Palmer, Matthew S R, 1995. "Toward an Economics of Comparative Political Organization: Examining Ministerial Responsibility," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 164-188, April.
    7. Ramseyer, J Mark & Rasmusen, Eric B, 1997. "Judicial Independence in a Civil Law Regime: The Evidence from Japan," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(2), pages 259-286, October.
    8. McCubbins, Mathew D & Noll, Roger G & Weingast, Barry R, 1987. "Administrative Procedures as Instruments of Political Control," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 243-277, Fall.
    9. Moe, Terry M, 1990. "Political Institutions: The Neglected Side of the Story," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(0), pages 213-253.
    10. Jones, Mark P. & Sanguinetti, Pablo & Tommasi, Mariano, 2000. "Politics, institutions, and fiscal performance in a federal system: an analysis of the Argentine provinces," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 305-333, April.
    11. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
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