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Institutions and Development

Advances in New Institutional Analysis series
Mary M. Shirley, President, The Ronald Coase Institute, US
A landmark contribution to our understanding of economic development.

This significant book argues that fundamental changes in deeply rooted institutions do not happen because of outsiders’ money, advice, pressures, or even physical force; which explains why foreign aid has not, and can not, improve institutions. The impetus for changing institutions must come from within a society, and the author shows how groups of local scholars contribute to institutional change and development when the political opportunity presents itself.
Extent: 240 pp
Hardback Price: £78.00 Online: £70.20
Publication Date: 2008
ISBN: 978 1 84542 968 3
Availability: In Stock
Paperback Price: £24.00 Online: £19.20
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 978 1 84980 161 4
Availability: In Stock
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  • Development Studies
  • Development Studies
  • Economics and Finance
  • Development Economics
  • Institutional Economics
A landmark contribution to our understanding of economic development.

This significant book argues that fundamental changes in deeply rooted institutions do not happen because of outsiders’ money, advice, pressures, or even physical force; which explains why foreign aid has not, and can not, improve institutions. The impetus for changing institutions must come from within a society, and the author shows how groups of local scholars contribute to institutional change and development when the political opportunity presents itself.

Both economic research and the history of foreign aid suggest that the largest barriers to development arise from a society’s institutions – its norms and rules. The author draws on 35 years experience to explain how institutions drive economic development. She goes beyond the abstractions usually used to define institutions, providing numerous examples to illustrate the complex, interlocking, and persistent nature of real world rules and norms. This significant book argues that fundamental changes in deeply rooted institutions do not happen because of outsiders’ money, advice, pressures, or even physical force; which explains why foreign aid has not, and can not, improve institutions. The impetus for changing institutions must come from within a society, and the author shows how groups of local scholars contribute to institutional change and development when the political opportunity presents itself.

Providing an overview of how market supporting institutions evolved in Europe and why these institutions are weak or absent in most countries of the world, this book will be of interest to a wide audience of aid and development policymakers, academics, and students of economics, political science, management, and law.
‘Mary Shirley’s fascinating and thought-provoking book on institutions and development takes issue with the way in which the international community has come to deal with institutions and governance. . . This book has been written by an author who combines a unique theoretical and empirical knowledge of her subject. . . The book clearly benefits both from her rich empirical experience with aid and development, and from her in-depth theoretical and analytical knowledge about institutions and institutional change. The book starts with a preface, which provides a useful and succinct summary of the main arguments developed in the volume. . . the book is very well written and full of valuable and thought-provoking insights on institutional change and development. . . Beyond any doubt, this book is essential reading for anyone interested in development, academics and practitioners alike.’
– Regina Birner, Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture

‘Institutions and Development is a landmark contribution to our understanding of economic development. It combines the author’s extensive experience with a thorough knowledge of the literature to provide an indispensable guide to improving economic performance in underdeveloped countries.’
– Douglass C. North, Washington University in St. Louis, US and Nobel Laureate
Contents: Preface 1. Introduction 2. Why are Poor Countries Poor? 3. Market-Supportive Institutions 4. Can Foreign Aid Promote Development? 5. Can we Measure Institutions and Institutional Change? 6. Institutions and the Reform of Urban Water Systems 7. The Role of Scholars and Scholarship in Economic Development 8. Where Do We Go From Here? References Index