Edited by Eric Brousseau and Jean-Michel Glachant
Cambridge University Press, 2008
Institutions are today recognized as the main drivers of differences of performances among industries, nations, and regions. Thanks to Ronald Coase, Douglas North and Olivier Williamson, New Institutional Economics has been developing a comprehensive and consistent knowledge about the infrastructures required for the performance of an economy. The field is burgeoning with researches on firms’ organizational strategies, the reshaping of industries, the design of markets, alliances and networks to manage innovations, the interplay between private self-regulation and public ordering, the performances of alternative legal systems, the respective role of formal (e.g. legal) and informal (e.g. beliefs, customs) institutions, the design of political and constitutional systems, the management of reforms, development and transition policies, etc. To carry out such a program, multi-disciplinarity stimulates cross-fertilisation among political sciences, anthropology, sociology, management sciences, law, and economics. The goal of this book is to provide theoreticians, practitioners and advanced students in economics and social sciences with a guide to reconcile these many developments and better grasp the underlying methodologies. Based on contribution of recognized scholars, it draws a synthesis of the current knowledge and identifies the most relevant questions to be explored.
New Institutional Economics (NIE) has skyrocketed in scope and influence over the last three decades. This first Handbook of NIE provides a unique and timely overview of recent developments and broad orientations. Contributions analyse the domain and perspectives of NIE; sections on legal institutions, political institutions, transaction cost economics, governance, contracting, institutional change, and more capture NIE's interdisciplinary nature. This Handbook will be of interest to economists, political scientists, legal scholars, management specialists, sociologists, and others wishing to learn more about this important subject and gain insight into progress made by institutionalists from other disciplines. This compendium of analyses by some of the foremost NIE specialists, including Ronald Coase, Douglass North, Elinor Ostrom, and Oliver Williamson, gives students and new researchers an introduction to the topic and offers established scholars a reference book for their research.
"Greif strips economic transactions down to their elements. He focuses on the core question: who (or what) were the watchdogs that allowed the merchants to trust one another and to bear with the princes who could confiscate the fruits of all their efforts? And who (or what) were the watchdogs' watchdogs? Greif repeatedly and carefully relates these questions to economic theory. He illustrates them with real transactions of medieval merchants. He takes the right approach to economic development, and thereby achieves an original and important new perspective on its causes. Institutions and the Path to the Modern Economy is a seminal work in economics and in history. It should be read by all social scientists." George A. Akerlof, 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economics and University of California, Berkeley
"If economic theory is worth anything at all, it should illuminate economic history. The most usual attempts to interpret history in terms of mainstream economic theory have tended to leave out the specifics and, in particular, the influence of past events and structures on later ones. Avner Greif's work demonstrates the power of using economic theory, especially game theory, to illuminate both structural patterns and change, while still respecting historical specificity. The evolution of medieval trade is used as a case to show how the problems raised by economic theorists (e.g., the need for enforcement of contracts ) are resolved by the creation of institutions which are constrained to be self-enforcing equilibria. I believe Greif's approach will lead to a revolution in the study of other eras and even the changes in present regimes." Kenneth Arrow, 1972 Nobel Laureate in Economics, and Professor Emeritus, Stanford University
"In Institutions and the Path to the Modern Economy, Avner Greif explores the cultures that prevailed in the European and Islamic portions of the Mediterranean in the Medieval period and the implication of their differences for the modern world. To tackle so grand a theme, Greif rearranges the intellectual furniture. Embedding game theory within the behavioral sciences, blurring the boundaries between deductive reasoning and empirical research and qualitative and quantitative methods, Greif teaches us not only about history but also about the place of history in causal explanation. Greif's book will shape future work in history, the study of development, and the social sciences." Robert H. Bates, Harvard University
"Avner Greif's study is a major landmark on the road to increasing our understanding of institutions and the role that they play in economic performance." Douglass C. North, 1993 Nobel Laureate in Economics
"[B]y creating new tools for studying institutions, [this book] is likely to inspire research for years to come. By all rights it deserves to do so, in economics, in sociology, in political science, in law, and (to the extent that historians in history departments pay attention to the social sciences) in history too. Economic historians obviously have special reason to prize the book, since it takes up some of the biggest issues in the field and makes a vigorous case for economic history within the larger discipline of economics. But other social scientists will highly value it too, and it will be no surprise if it ends up becoming -- and rightfully so -- a classic." EH.NET, Philip T. Hoffman, Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology
“Greif displays not only a masterful command of game theory and relevant historical detail, but also admirable and insightful integration of work by sociologists and political scientists on organizational and institutional change...The book provides a cogent demonstration of how game theory, careful attention to historical detail and interdisciplinary analysis can illuminate each other. Highly recommended.” - Clyde G. Reed, Simon Fraser University
"In 22 well-written chapters, this volume illuminates the major accomplishments of the economics of property rights. While they differ in the scope and extent of their coverage, contributions to this book are focused, carefully researched, well argued, and quite readable. In my judgment, the book takes us to the frontier of the growing stock of knowledge on the origins and consequences of alternative property rights." – From the foreword by Steve Pejovich
Economics is a matter of choice and growth, of interaction and exchange among individuals. Because property rights define the rules of these interactions and the objects of exchange, it is vital to fully understand the institutions and implications of the various property-rights regimes. With over 20 original and specially commissioned chapters, this book takes the reader from the historical and moral foundations of the discipline to the frontiers of scholarly research in the field.
Contents: Foreword by Steve Pejovich Introduction Part I: The Birth and Evolution of Property Rights Part II: Property Rights and the Law Part III: Current Issues from a Property Rights Perspective Index
Contributors: R.C. Amacher, T.L. Anderson, C. Antonelli, C. Barrère, N. Barry, B.L. Benson, E. Brousseau, R.A. Cass, A.A. Chafuen, L. Cohen, E. Colombatto, T. Cuccia, P. Garello, P. Garrouste, H.-H. Hoppe, A.G. Isaac, D.R. Lee, G.D. Libecap, L.P. Liggio, F.S. McChesney, B. McCormick, R.E. Meiners, S.W. Norton, F. Parisi, W.G. Park, S. Pejovich, A. Rapaczynski, W. Santagata, S. Voig.
In this landmark work, a Nobel Prize-winning economist develops a new way of understanding the process by which economies change. Douglass North inspired a revolution in economic history a generation ago by demonstrating that economic performance is determined largely by the kind and quality of institutions that support markets. As he showed in two now classic books that inspired the New Institutional Economics (today a subfield of economics), property rights and transaction costs are fundamental determinants. Here, North explains how different societies arrive at the institutional infrastructure that greatly determines their economic trajectories.
North argues that economic change depends largely on "adaptive efficiency," a society's effectiveness in creating institutions that are productive, stable, fair, and broadly accepted--and, importantly, flexible enough to be changed or replaced in response to political and economic feedback. While adhering to his earlier definition of institutions as the formal and informal rules that constrain human economic behavior, he extends his analysis to explore the deeper determinants of how these rules evolve and how economies change. Drawing on recent work by psychologists, he identifies intentionality as the crucial variable and proceeds to demonstrate how intentionality emerges as the product of social learning and how it then shapes the economy's institutional foundations and thus its capacity to adapt to changing circumstances.
Understanding the Process of Economic Change accounts not only for past institutional change but also for the diverse performance of present-day economies. This major work is therefore also an essential guide to improving the performance of developing countries.
Douglass C. North is Professor of Economics and Spencer T. Olin Professor in Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, and Bartlett Burnap Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Corecipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 1993, he is the author of Structure and Change in Economic History and Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance and the author, coauthor, or editor of seven other books.
"To those wishing to learn about the New Institutional Economics, this comprehensive collection of articles will be extremely valuable, exhibiting, as it does, the New Institutional Economics in all its variety. To those wishing to contribute to the New Institutional Economics, it will be an indispensable reference source."– Ronald H. Coase, University of Chicago Law School, US
"These volumes disclose and develop the richness and importance of the New Institutional Economics – in conceptual, theoretical, empirical, and public policy respects. These timely volumes will be widely used by present students of the NIE and by social scientists and public policy analysts more generally." – Oliver E. Williamson, University of California, Berkeley, US
171 articles, dating from 1732 to 2002
Contributors include: A. Alchian, M. Aoki, K. Arrow, Y. Barzel, S. Cheung, R.H. Coase, H. Demsetz, D.C. North, H. Simon, O.E. Williamson
Markets are one of the most salient institutions produced by humans, and economists have traditionally analyzed the workings of the market mechanism. Recently, however, economists and others have begun to appreciate the many institution-related events and phenomena that have a significant impact on economic performance. Examples include the demise of the communist states, the emergence of Silicon Valley and e-commerce, the European currency unification, and the East Asian financial crises.
In this book Masahiko Aoki uses modern game theory to develop a conceptual and analytical framework for understanding issues related to economic institutions. The wide-ranging discussion considers how institutions evolve, why their overall arrangements are robust and diverse across economies, and why they do or do not change in response to environmental factors such as technological progress, global market integration, and demographic change.
This authoritative new collection includes the most important published articles on the normative and positive branches of constitutional political economy.
It contains sections on the ideas and concepts of constitutions, on the process of creating and amending them, a variety of papers on both the horizontal as well as the vertical separation of powers, and a final section on the relevance of constitutions for economic outcomes. The editor has written an authoritative introduction which contains a broad bibliography on all aspects of constitutional political economy. 38 articles, dating from 1958 to 2001
Contributors include: G. Brennan, J. Buchanan, J. Elster, A. Hamlin, R. Hardin, D. Mueller, P. Ordeshook, R. Posner, C.R. Sunstein, V. Vanberg, B. Weingast.
A contract is an agreement under which two parties make reciprocal commitments in terms of their behavior to coordinate. This concept has become essential to economics in the last 30 years. Three main theoretical frameworks arose: "incentive theory", "incomplete-contract theory" and "transaction-costs theory". These frameworks have enabled scholars to renew the microeconomics of coordination, and yielded implications for many fields of application : industrial organization, labor economic, law and economics, organization design, etc. Beyond these perspective the macroeconomics of "market" (decentralized) economies and of the institutional framework were renewed. Among all these developments resulted in new analyses of firm's strategy and State intervention (regulation of public utilities, anti-trust, public procurement, institutional design, liberalization policies, etc.).
Based on contribution by the leading scholars in the field, this book provides an overview of the past and recent developments in these analytical currents, presents their various aspects, and propose expanding horizons for the oreticians and practitioners from various disciplines especially : Economics, Law, Management, Political Science, Sociology.
This outstanding book presents new original contributions from some of the world’s leading economists including Ronald Coase, Douglass C. North, Masahiko Aoki, Oliver E. Williamson and Harold Demsetz. It demonstrates the extent and depth of the New Institutional Economics research programme which is having a worldwide impact on the economics profession.
Contributors: L.J. Alston, M. Aoki, B. Arruñada, Y. Barzel, A. Benham, L. Benham, E. Brousseau, D. Chabaud, J. Charap, R.H. Coase, M.L. Cook, H. Demsetz, J.N. Drobak, S.L. Engerman, J. Ensminger, M. Fares, A. Fernández, D. Finon, J.A. Garibaldi-Fernández, J.-M. Glachant, M. González, S.H. Haber, C. Harm, C. Iliopoulos, K.D. Kauffman, P. Keefer, M. Levi, C. Ménard, D.C. North, P.H.M. Ruys, S. Saussier, R. Semenov, M.M. Shirley, K.L. Sokoloff, R. van den Brink, L. Werin, O.E. Williamson.