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Chapter 9: Identifying institutional obstacles to structural transformation: state capacity and property rights

After having examined the role of politics (in last chapter) in spurring or slowing down structural transformation and development, we are now ready to probe the issue of state capacity. This will complete our discussion of the role of governance-related…

Chapter 6: Taiwan’s development miracle

There are several reasons why development scholars should be interested in the case of Taiwan. As one author has written: ‘It once had a single dominant party following the Leninist model; it now has a competitive multiparty system. It was…

Chapter 5: South Korea in the early days of its takeoff

‘What would have been the conclusion of an institutional diagnostic of the development potential of South Korea conducted in the mid- or late-1970s, at a time when the country was still a low-income country, at roughly the same income level…

Chapter 3: Case studies on Benin and Tanzania

There are several reasons why Benin is an interesting country to study, and some of them have no doubt contributed to making it an aid darling for many donors. First, although it is made up of an extraordinarily varied mosaic…

Appraising institutional challenges in the early stages of development: Introduction to part 2

At the core of the institutional diagnostic project is the idea that we can gain more knowledge about the role of institutions by undertaking in-depth country case studies than by carrying out broad quantitative exercises based on a large sample…

Chapter 2: Methodological framework for an institutional diagnostic

The preceding chapter defined the objective of the institutional diagnostics of each particular country and made explicit the concepts and analytical principles that need to be mobilised in order to conduct such an exercise. By providing a short description of…

Chapter 1: Institutions and institutional change: concepts and theories

The ‘institutions matter’ slogan appears today as a fundamental truth about development. Widely shared by the development community, including international organisations, it goes with the idea that the benefits of both market operations and state interventions are significantly conditioned by…

EDI Private Sector Research: Showing How to Improve Management in Firms and Government February 2022 Christopher Woodruff

We place the research on the private sector supported by the Economic Development and Institutions (EDI) Programme into the context of the broader literature. The review illuminates the contribution of the EDI research in two areas that are at the…

On the Political Economy of Land Reform

We develop an approach to understand the role of autocratic land reforms to prevent democratic change. The autocrat confiscates and redistributes land in an attempt to secure his power, exploiting the endogenous social identities and loyalty in the population. The…

Traditional Institutions and Policy Reforms: A Review of RA4 Projects

Baland and Guirkinger summarise the case studies research undertaken on the theme of family, gender and conflict. They conclude that several examples of traditional institutions, such as patriarchy or clan, caste or ethnic groups, are remarkably resilient. They argue that…

Formal and Informal Institutions in Development: Contexts, Resistance, and Leverage

This synthesis paper draws together the salient elements emerging from the RA4 case studies research, and from three thematic synthesis papers written by members of the RA4 Scientific Committee, Jean Marie Baland and Catherine Guirkinger, Dilip Mookherjee, and Christopher Woodruff….

Institutions and economic development: Taking stock and looking forward

This paper serves as a companion paper to the Economic Development and Institutions’ (EDI) White Paper “At the Intersection: A Review of Institutions in Economic Development” (Dal Bó and Finan, 2016). The White Paper reviewed nearly 200 publications from economics…

Research on State, Bureaucracy, and Judiciary: A Synthesis

The state, bureaucracy, and judiciary synthesis paper finds that the research conducted under this theme makes an important contribution to the literature discussing the issue that formal institutions cannot be created at will, and that they require a suitable cultural…

Better Containment but Less Health Access: How past exposure to health crises affects the Covid-19 response

This paper provides micro evidence for one mechanism behind the dramatically different political responses to the Covid-19 pandemic, namely how an increase in the perceived risk of Covid-19 among individuals stemming from past exposure to similar health crises generates citizen demand for containment measures.

Community Forestry Management: Mechanisms behind a success story in Nepal

Over the past 25 years, the government of Nepal implemented one of the most ambitious and comprehensive programs of decentralization of forest management in the world. This major institutional change resulted in the transfer of the management of almost 50%…

Voting Power and the Supply of News Media: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from India

In this paper, we investigate how media owners react to changes in the political importance of vote choices — voting power — in different areas. Whereas “one person, one vote” is often considered the guiding principle of democracies, there is…

The unequal impact of Covid-19 on different regions: The role of policy, genetic, and cultural factors

One puzzling question that arises in connection with the spread of the virus SARS-CoV2 is why there are so large variations in its incidence (the infection rate) and its lethal consequences (the death-toll) across countries and across regions within countries….

Vulnerable Groups and the COVID-19: The Indian Case

The current unraveling COVID-19 pandemic poses severe challenges not only in the realm of health, but also for economic and social systems around the globe. It can exacerbate longstanding inequities between groups and leave marginalized groups in a vulnerable position;…

Industrial clusters, networks and resilience in the covid-19 shock in China

This paper examines resilience of Chinese firms to the Covid-19 shock, and how it varied with a cluster index (measuring spatial agglomeration of firms in related industries) at the county level. Two data sources are used: entry flows of newly…

Thematic Insight: Motivating and monitoring public service provision

The ability to recruit, elicit effort from, and retain civil servants is a central issue for any government. Poor performance of frontline civil servants (e.g., teachers, health workers, tax collectors) suggests that governments need to find and deploy more effective…

Thematic Insight: Modernizing tax collection

Developing, maintaining, and using tax records to boost revenue. Tax revenue funds the provision of public goods, but poor countries struggle to raise taxes. In fact, as shown in the figure above, low income countries (LICs) raise only half as much tax…

How the Zimbabweans pay for the war against Covid-19

In many countries the Covid-19 virus spread from the roving rich to the stationary poor. In South Africa, for instance, the virus seems to have been imported from abroad by travelers from the upper class and was then transferred to…

The Threat to Female Adolescent Development from Covid-19

In developing countries with strongly patriarchal norms, the socio-economic opportunities and choices of adolescent girls and young women often lie in a contested area, subject to the influence of both traditional institutions and the modern state and its partners. While…

The Power of Women’s Collective Action

For decades, women in India have been largely absent from public life and substantially under-represented in political institutions. As a country founded on the ideals of localized democracy, this has meant that the voices of roughly half of the population…

Crime in the time of COVID-19: How Colombian gangs responded to the pandemic

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, scholars and journalists have spread anecdotes of gangs and criminal organizations coming to the aid of citizens, governing in place of the state. They report gang activities that range from enforcing lockdowns to providing goods and…

Learning What to Look For: Hard Measures of Soft Skills in Promotion

Abstract: We report the results of a field experiment designed to promote women to supervisory positions in Bangladesh’s garment factories, with which participating factories have little prior experience. We show that formal diagnostic tests lead factories to choose candidates that…

Aspirations in Economics: A Review

Abstract: This paper reviews the literature on aspirations in economics, with a particular focus on socially determined aspirations. The core theory builds on two fundamental principles: (a) aspirations can serve to inspire, but still higher aspirations can lead to frustration…

Power for the People: how should governments develop electric grids?

More than a billion people currently live without access to electricity in their homes. As policymakers push for increased electricity access, Susanna Berkouwer (University of California, Berkley) examines the work EDI is doing to answer the key question: how can…

How do institutions affect economic development?

The Economic Development & Institutions (EDI) research programme aims to provide evidence and insights into what practical actions can be undertaken to produce institutional changes that will improve a country’s economic development and growth. The importance of a country’s institutions…

Highlights from the Economic Development & Institutions conference 2019

Between 3 and 4 June 2019, the Economic Development & Institutions programme hosted its annual general conference. The event, held in Paris, brought together nearly 50 EDI researchers, members of the scientific committees, independent advisory committee and programme management staff….

Spotlight on Formal and Informal Institutions

Louis Kasekende (Deputy Governor, Bank of Uganda) discusses the role of formal and informal institutions in the financial sector. He refers to recent EDI path-finding research papers to focus on the transition from informal to formal institutions and its effect…

Spotlight on Conflict and Development

Joan Esteban (Institute for Economic Analysis) and Debraj Ray (New York University) explain how civil wars are the major impediments to growth, and offer three lessons from existing research. Watch our Spotlight on Conflict and Development below:

Spotlight on Migration and Institutions

Kaivan Munshi (University of Cambridge) explores how labour movements and development are linked, and provides insight into the role of policy around this area. Watch the video below for his overview:

Spotlight on Inequality and Institutions

Sam Bowles of the Santa Fe Institute explains how institutions are the rules of the game, that regulate how we interact with each other. “If we don’t understand how institutions work, we can’t possibly understand how economies change,” he says….

An Introduction to Economic Development & Institutions

A number of EDI colleagues and advisors provide an introductory overview of the Economic Development and Institutions research programme. “If you want to reduce the income gap between the poorest and non-poorest countries in the world, then you have to…

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