Institutions and Credible Commitment
In this essay I intend to assess the road we have travelled in the ten years since the first conference on Institutional Economics with the objectives of suggesting where we should go from here. The suggestions will be personal reflecting both my special interests as an economic historian and my undoubtedly subjective perceptions of the road we have travelled and of an agenda of research. The title of my essay gives away the key questions that I believe we must answer. How have economies in the past developed institutions that have provided the credible commitment that has enabled more complex contracting to be realized; and what lessons can we derive from that experience that will be of value today in the on going process of building or rebuilding economies?