Cover: Institutions and Economic Performance, from Harvard University PressCover: Institutions and Economic Performance in HARDCOVER

Institutions and Economic Performance

Edited by Elhanan Helpman

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Product Details

HARDCOVER

$77.50 • £62.95 • €70.00

ISBN 9780674030770

Publication Date: 11/01/2008

Short

624 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

50 line illustrations, 59 tables

World

Institutions and Economic Performance explores the question of why income per capita varies so greatly across countries. Even taking into account disparities in resources, including physical and human capital, large economic discrepancies remain across countries. Why are some societies but not others able to encourage investments in places, people, and productivity?

The answer, the book argues, lies to a large extent in institutional differences across societies. Such institutions are wide-ranging and include formal constitutional arrangements, the role of economic and political elites, informal institutions that promote investment and knowledge transfer, and others. Two core themes run through the contributors’ essays. First, what constraints do institutions place on the power of the executive to prevent it from extorting the investments and effort of other people and institutions? Second, when are productive institutions self-enforcing?

Institutions and Economic Performance is unique in its melding of economics, political science, history, and sociology to address its central question.

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Books influence us in untold ways, and the ones that influence us the most are often read in childhood. Harvard University Press Senior Editor Julia Kirby is reminded of this on the anniversary of the birth of one of this country’s most celebrated economists. This month would have brought Thomas Schelling’s one-hundredth birthday—and he got closer to seeing it than many mortals. The Nobel laureate economist died just five years ago, after a brilliant career as both a scholar and an advisor to US foreign policy strategists. What better day to dip into his classic work