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

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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 of countries. The reasons behind this research strategy have been explained in detail in Chapter 2. We believe that any institutional analysis that ignores the precise context in which institutions operate is destined to generate only limited insights. The value of large data-based cross-country  exercises is essentially exploratory, while the relevance of more sophisticated exercises that overcome the problem of causality – micro-historical studies using regression discontinuity and similar methods in particular – is all the greater as they are seen as complementary efforts to the sort of investigation conducted in this book.

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