Law & Political Theory: Institutional Analysis & Development

B592 is taught by L. Alston, D. Cole

The basis of institutional analysis is that formal institutions (e.g., laws) and informal institutions (e.g. norms) are important determinants of individual and group behavior. Behavior, in turn, affects socio-economic development. In the first part of the course, our initial focus is to take institutions as exogenous and understand how institutions lead to different socio-economic paths of development. After understanding the grand forces at play in shaping development paths, we will explore at a more micro level the outcomes of institutions, e.g. the rights that individuals and groups have to resources (property rights); and the forms of organization of production and exchange (markets and contracts). In Part II of the course, we explore the determinants of formal institutions (interest groups, legislative, executive and judicial branches, and the bureaucracy), taking as fixed the basic constitutional rules and the current realization of economic performance. In part III, we analyze the circumstances under which norms and beliefs can change and how those changes can lead to transitions to different economic and political trajectories (beliefs, leadership, constitutions). Throughout the course, we use case studies as well as econometric evidence to help students engage in applied work in institutional analysis.

Please note that this class meets according to SPEA regulations and calendar.