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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 and political science on the role of institutions in development, drawing from experimental and quasi-experimental evidence whenever possible. The goal of the White Paper was threefold: (i) to present a framework for reviewing and synthesizing the existing evidence on how legal and political institutions affect development outcomes; (ii) to distill lessons learned from the literature; and (iii) to present open questions in each topic that defined the research frontier at that time.

This Green Paper revisits the themes and research priorities identified by the White Paper five
years later. The purpose is to assess how the research funded by the EDI program contributes
to our knowledge of how institutions affect development, and where the research frontier lies
today. Whenever possible, we synthesize lessons across funded studies in cross-cutting analytic
themes to identify the mechanisms that underlie observed effects

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