Ronald Coase Institute

Introductory Reading List:
New Institutional Economics


Eggertsson, Thrainn, Economic Behavior and Institutions, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Furubotn, Eirik G. and Rudolf Richter, Institutions and Economic Theory: The Contribution of the New Institutional Economics, Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1997.

Persson, Torsten and Guido Tabellini, Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy (Zeuthen Lectures), MIT Press, 2000.

Acemoglu, Daron and James A. Robinson, Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy, Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Menard, Claude and Mary M. Shirley, eds, Handbook of New institutional Economics, Dordrecht: Springer, 2005.

North, Douglass C., John Joseph Wallis, and Barry R. Weingast, Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History, Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Transaction Cost Perspective
Coase, Ronald, " The Nature of The Firm," Economica, November 1937, pp. 386-495. Reprinted in Boulding, Kenneth, Readings in Price Theory, 1952, pp. 331-351;
and in Coase, R. H., The Firm, the Market and the Law, The University of Chicago Press, 1988, pp. 33-55; and in Williamson, O. and Winter, S., eds., The Nature of the Firm: Origins, Evolution and Development, Oxford University Press, 1991.

Coase, Ronald, "The Problem of Social Cost," Journal of Law and Economics, October 1960, pp. 1-44.  Reprinted in Henry G. Manne, ed., The Economics of Legal Relationships, West Publishing, 1975; and in Breit, W., Hochman, H., and Saueracker E., Readings in Microeconomics, Times Mirror Publishing, 1986, pp. 414-440; and in Coase, R. H., The Firm, the Market and the Law, The University of Chicago Press, 1988.

Coase, Ronald, "How Should Economists Choose?", the G. Warren Nutter Lectures in Political Economy, published by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1982. Reprinted in Coase, R.H., Essays on Economics and Economists, The University of Chicago Press, 1994, pp. 15-33.

Coase, Ronald H., The Firm, the Market and the Law, The University of Chicago Press, 1988.

Alchian, Armen A. and Demsetz, Harold,
“Production, Information Costs, and Economic Organization,” American Economic Review 62:5 (December 1972), pp. 777-795.

Ostrom, Elinor, Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action, Cambridge University Press, 1990

Williamson, Oliver, "
Franchise Bidding for Natural Monopolies – in General and with Respect to CATV," The Bell Journal of Economics, 7 (Spring 1976), pp. 73-104.

Williamson, Oliver, "Transaction Cost Economics: The Governance of Contractual Relations," Journal of Law and Economics, 22 (October 1979), pp. 233-261

Williamson, Oliver, "Credible Commitments: Using Hostages to Support Exchange," American Economic Review, 73 (September 1983), pp. 519-40.

Williamson, Oliver, The Economic Institutions of Capitalism: Firms, Markets, Relational Contracting, New York: The Free Press, 1985.

Williamson, O. and Winter, S., editors, The Nature of the Firm: Origins, Evolution and Development, Oxford University Press, 1991.

Williamson, Oliver E.. and Masten, Scott E., editors, The Economics of Transaction Costs, Edward Elgar Publishing, 1999.

Williamson, Oliver, "
The New Institutional Economics: Taking Stock, Looking Ahead," Journal of Economic Literature, 38 (September 2000), pp. 595-613.

Historical and Political Economy Perspective
North, Douglass. C., Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

North, Douglass C., "Institutions," The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 5:1 (Winter 1991), pp. 97-112.

North, Douglass C., "New Institutional Economics and Development." 1993 working paper (PDF file).

North, Douglass C., "Economic Performance Through Time," The American Economic Review, 84 (June 1994), pp. 359-368.

North, Douglass C., "Five Propositions about Institutional Change," in Explaining Social Institutions, Jack Knight and Itai Sened, eds., University of Michigan Press, 1995, pp. 15-26.

North, Douglass C., "Understanding Economic Change>," in Transforming Post-Communist Political Economies, Joan M. Nelson, Charles Tilly and Lee Walker, eds., Washington D. C.: National Academy Press, 1997, pp. 13-18.

Allen, Douglas W., The Institutional Revolution: Measurement and the Economic Emergence of the Modern World, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011.

Olson, Mancur, The Logic of Collective Action, Cambridge MA; Harvard University Press, 1965.

Acemoglu, Daron, Simon Johnson and James Robinson, "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review 91: 1369-1401, 2001.

Rodrik, Dani, Arvind Subramanian, and Francesco Trebbi. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions Over Geography and Integration in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Growth 9 (2): 131-165, 2004.

Eggertsson, Thrainn. "No Experiments, Monumental Disasters: Why It Took a Thousand Years To Develop a Specialized Fishing Industry in Iceland,", Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 30:1, pp. 1-23 ,1996.

Engerman, Stanley and Kenneth Sokoloff, "Factor Endowments, Institutions, and Differential Paths of Growth Among New World Economies: A View from Economic Historians of the United States," in How Latin America Fell Behind: Essays on the Economic Histories of Brazil and Mexico, 1800-1914, edited by Stephen Haber, Stanford University Press, pp. 260-304, 1997.

Banerjee, Abhijit and Lakshmi Iyer, "History, Institutions and Economic Performance: The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India," American Economic Review 95 (4): 1190-1213, 2005.

Nunn, Nathan, "The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades," Quarterly Journal of Economics 123 (1): 139-176, 2008.

Contractual choice in historical settings
Allen, Dougas W., "Compatible Incentives and the Purchase of Military Commissions," Journal of Legal Studies 28: 45-66, 1998.

Allen, Douglas W. , "British Navy Rules: Monitoring and Incompatible Incentives in the Age of Sail," Explorations in Economic History 39 (2): 204-231, 2002.

Raff, Daniel M.G. and Lawrence H. Summers, "Did Henry Ford Pay Efficiency Wages?", Journal of Labor Economics 5 (4): 57-86, 1987.

Allen, Douglas W. and Yoram Barzel, "Evolution of Criminal Law and Police during the Pre-Modern Era," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, 2009.

Informal institutions, norms, culture, and customs
Milgrom, Paul, Douglass C. North and Barry Weingast, "The Role of Institutions in the Revival of Trade: The Medieval Law Merchant," Economics and Politics 2 (1): 1-23, 1990.

Greif, Avner. "Reputation and Coalitions in Medieval Trade: Evidence on the Maghribi Traders," Journal of Economic History 49 (4): 857-882, 1989.

Guiso, Luigi, Paola Sapienza, and Luigi Zingales, "Does Culture Affect Economic Outcomes?", Journal of Economic Perspectives 20 (2): 23-48, 2006.

Alston, Lee, Gary Libecap, and Bernardo Mueller, Titles, Conflict and Land Use: The Development of Property Rights and Land Reform on the Brazilian Amazon Frontier, University of Michigan Press, 1998.

Alston, Lee J., Eggertsson, Thrainn, and North, Douglass C., eds. Empirical Studies in Institutional Change, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1996.

Benham, Alexandra and Lee Benham, "Property Rights in Transition Economies: A Commentary on What Economists Know," in Transforming Post-Communist Political Economies, Joan M. Nelson, Charles Tilly and Lee Walker, eds., Washington DC: National Academy Press, 1997.

Benham, Alexandra and Lee Benham, "The Costs of Exchange," in The Elgar Companion to Transaction Cost Economics, Peter G. Klein and Michael E. Sykuta, eds., Edward Elgar, Northampton, MA, 2010.

Benham, Alexandra and Lee Benham,"Measuring the Costs of Exchange," in Ménard, Claude, editor, Institutions, Contracts and Organizations: Perspectives from New Institutional Economics, Edward Elgar, 2000, pp. 367-375.

Coase, Ronald, "The Lighthouse in Economics," The Journal of Law and Economics, 17:2 (October 1974), pp. 357-376. Reprinted in Coase, R. H., The Firm, the Market and the Law, The University of Chicago Press, 1988.

Keefer, Philip and Stephen Knack, "Why Don’t Poor Countries Catch Up: A Cross National Test of an Institutional Explanation," Economic Inquiry, 35:3 (July 1997), pp. 590-602.

Levy, Brian and Pablo Spiller, "The Institutional Foundations of Regulatory Commitment: A Comparative Analysis of Telecommunications Regulation," The Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, October 1994, pp. 201-246.

Masten, Scott, editor, Case Studies in Contracting and Organization, Oxford Press, 1988.

Ménard, Claude, editor, Institutions, Contracts and Organizations: Perspectives from New Institutional Economics, Edward Elgar, 2000.

North, Douglass C. and Barry R. Weingast, " Constitutions and Commitments: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England ," The Journal of Economic History, 49:4 (December 1989). Reprinted in Empirical Studies in Institutional Change, Lee J. Alston, Thrainn Eggertsson, and Douglass C. North, eds., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Stone, Andrew, Brian Levy and Ricardo Parades, "Public Institutions and Private Transactions: A Comparative Analysis of the Legal and Regulatory Environment for Business Transactions in Brazil and Chile" in Empirical Studies in Institutional Change, Lee J. Alston, Thrainn Eggertsson, Douglass C. North, eds., Cambridge University Press, 1996, pp. 95-128.

Wallis, John J. and Douglass C. North, "Measuring the Transaction Sector in the American Economy, 1870-1970," in Engermann, Stanley and Robert Gallman, eds., Income and Wealth: Long-Term Factors in American Economic Growth, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986.

World Bank (team led by Mary Shirley), Bureaucrats in Business: The Economics and Politics of Government Ownership, New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Studies of property rights
Hornbeck, Richard, "Barbed Wire: Property Rights and Agricultural Development," Quarterly Journal of Economics 125 (2): 767-810, 2010.

Galiani, Sebastian and Ernesto Schargrodsky, "Property Rights for the Poor: The Effects of Land Titling, " Journal of Public Economics 94 (9): 700-729, 2010.

Johnson, Simon, John McMillan, and Christopher Woodruff, "Property Rights and Finance," American Economic Review 92 (5): 1335-1356, 2002.

Case studies of government regulation and transaction costs
Djankov, Simeon, Raphael La Porta, Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes, and Andrei Shleifer, "The Regulation of Entry," Quarterly Journal of Economics 118 (1): 1-37, 2002.

Hall, Robert E. and Charles I. Jones, "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?", Quarterly Journal of Economics 114 (1): 83-116, 1999.

Hansen, Zeynep K. and Marc T. Law, "The Political Economy of Truth-in-Advertising Regulation during the Progressive Era," Journal of Law and Economics 51 (2): 251-267, 2009.

Law, Marc T., "The Origins of State Pure Food Regulation," Journal of Economic History 63 (4): 1103-1130, 2003.

Law, Marc T. and Sukkoo Kim, "Specialization and Regulation: The Rise of Professionals and the Emergence of Occupational Licensing Regulation," Journal of Economic History 65 (3): 723-756, 2005.

Libecap, Gary D. and Dean Lueck, "The Demarcation of Land and the Role of Coordinating Property Institutions," Journal of Political Economy 119 (3): 426-67, 2011.

Alchian, Armen A., " Uncertainty, Evolution, and Economic Theory ," Journal of Political Economy, 58:3 (June 1950), pp. 211-221; also in American Economic Association, Hefflebower and Stocking, eds., Readings in Industrial Organization and Public Policy, pp. 457-476.

Barzel, Yoram. Economic Analysis of Property Rights, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Demsetz, Harold, "Toward a Theory of Property Rights," American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings of the Seventy-ninth Annual Meeting, 57:2 (May 1967), pp. 347-359. Reprinted in Furubotn, Eirik, and Pejovich, Svetozar, eds., The Economics of Property Rights, Ballinger, 1974.

Hayek, F. A., " The Use of Knowledge in Society," American Economic Review, 35:4 (September 1945) pp. 519-530.

Sened, Itai, The Political Institution of Private Property, Cambridge University Press, pp. 76-132.

Tullock, Gordon, " The Transitional Gains Trap ," Bell Journal, 6 (Autumn 1975), pp. 671-678.


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