WIDER Annual Lecture 1 - The New Institutional Economics and its contribution to improving our understanding of the transition problem

Although a growing number of emerging democracies and other systems are turning to free market policies to spur their economic growth, many of them are finding that these policies are not always successful.

One of the key reasons for this failure is that too often the structural economic reforms have been implemented without corresponding changes in social and political institutions.

Professor Douglass C. North

Professor Douglass C. North, of the University of Washington in St. Louis, has written extensively about this issue, and his studies of economic development in various parts of the world provide important answers to the dilemmas economic reformers and policymakers face in the developing countries. Professor North also has underscored the critical role that the rule of law and equitable enforcement of legislation play in effecting long term economic reforms and building democratic institutions. 

Why do some nations grow rich and others remain poor? For his insights into this basic question of our age Douglass C. North was awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize in Economics. Professor North, one of the world's preeminent economists, has examined this question mainly by analyzing the historical development of various economies, and his research has great value to our understanding of the past, the present and the policy directions for the future.

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Annual Lecture
The Contribution of the New Institutional Economics to an Understanding of the Transition Problem

Institutions and the way they evolve shape economic performance. Institutions affect economic performance by determining (together with the technology employed) the cost of transating and producing...

Economic policy Institutional economics