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    Continuing his groundbreaking analysis of economic structures, Douglass North develops an analytical framework for explaining the ways in which institutions and institutional change affect the performance of economies.

    Institutions exist due to the uncertainties involved in human interaction; they are the constraints devised to structure that interaction. Yet, institutions vary widely in their consequences for economic performance; some economies develop institutions that produce growth and development, while others develop institutions that produce stagnation.

    North first explores the nature of institutions and explains the role of transaction and production costs in their development. The second part of the book deals with institutional change. Institutions create the incentive structure in an economy, and organizations will be created to take advantage of the opportunities provided within a given institutional framework. North argues that the kinds of skills and knowledge fostered by the structure of an economy will shape the direction of change and gradually alter the institutional framework. He then explains how institutional development may lead to a path-dependent pattern of development. In the final part of the book, North explains the implications of this analysis for economic theory and economic history.

    ©1990 Cambridge University Press (P)2019 Tantor

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    • Philo
    • 25/01/2020

    The parts of a high-functioning society, mapped

    This work is brilliant. It is a model of clarity. Do you want to have a practical understanding of economics, game theory, law, politics? Of when and where we can trust others, and what structures we need to do so? There are tight, compact explanations here. This is built from a bottom-up foundation, from the deals up to the big structures, i.e., is micro-economic. It is built around the actual structures (rules, customs, parts of government and business), that is, "institutions," through which we deal, and our society and dealings work (or don't). So, I think, it is called "new institutional" economics. Around this work, North won the 1993 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. It builds on the work of towering genius Ronald Coase, famous for transaction-cost economics, with whom this author worked. As a professor in Business Law for about 35 years now, I have never seen the under-girding logic of law and society so lucidly explained as it is here. The insights just follow on up-on another the whole time.