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Political Economy

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The Case of Colombia
Edited by Alberto Alesina

These studies of Colombian economic, political, and social institutions offer not only theoretically grounded analyses but also practical recommendations for policy reform. Experts from the United States, Europe, and Colombia approach such problems as executive-legislative branch conflict, fragmented political parties, crime prevention, inefficient decentralization, and mistargeted social spending from a political economics perspective. Their findings provide an illuminating example of the way ideas from this relatively new area of research can be applied to real-world problems.

The authors of this timely and provocative book use the tools of economic analysis to examine the formation and change of political borders. They argue that while these issues have always been at the core of historical analysis, international economists have tended to regard the size of a country as "exogenous," or no more subject to explanation than the location of a mountain range or the course of a river. Alesina and Spolaore consider a country's borders to be subject to the same analysis as any other man-made institution.

Theory and Evidence

In this book, Yi Feng combines political and economic analyses to study the effects of political institutions on economic performance. Traditionally, political scientists disregard details of economic conditions, while economists may not take into consideration a systematic explanation of political regimes. The growing interest in the interplay of political and economic systems, spurred by the political democratization and economic liberalization evident in many countries over the last twenty years, merits this new perspective.

The authors of The Economic Effects of Constitutions use econometric tools to study what they call the "missing link" between constitutional systems and economic policy; the book is an uncompromisingly empirical sequel to their previous theoretical analysis of economic policy. Taking recent theoretical work as a point of departure, they ask which theoretical findings are supported and which are contradicted by the facts. The results are based on comparisons of political institutions across countries or time, in a large sample of contemporary democracies.

Evidence from Historical Records of the Federal Open Market Committee

In many countries, monetary policy decisions are made by committees. In the United States, these decisions are made by the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), which consists of the seven members of the Board of Governors and the presidents of the twelve district banks. This book examines the process by which the preferences of the FOMC's individual members are translated into collective policy choices. This focus on the aggregation of individual preferences into group decisions is unique and provides an important perspective on the evolution of monetary policy choices.

Essays in the Political and Institutional Economics of Development

This wide-ranging review of some of the major issues in development economics focuses on the role of economic and political institutions. Drawing on the latest findings in institutional economics and political economy, Pranab Bardhan, a leader in the field of development economics, offers a relatively nontechnical discussion of current thinking on these issues from the viewpoint of poor countries, synthesizing recent research and reflecting on where we stand today.

Implications for Growth and Inequality

The dominant role played by the state in the financing, regulation, and provision of primary and secondary education reflects the widely-held belief that education is necessary for personal and societal well-being. The economic organization of education depends on political as well as market mechanisms to resolve issues that arise because of contrasting views on such matters as income inequality, social mobility, and diversity.

The Business of Global Environmental Governance takes a political economy approach to understanding the role of business in global environmental politics. The book's contributors—from a range of disciplines including international political economy, management, and political science—view the evolution of international environmental governance as a dynamic interplay of economic structures, business strategies, and political processes.

The leaders of European Union member states have declared that a European constitution should take "a clear, open, effective, democratically controlled Community approach." Their goal—that within the Union, "European institutions should be brought closer to its citizens"—raises many questions about implementation. What is the most effective procedure for connecting citizens' preferences to political action and policy choices at the EU level?

This is the first volume in a three-volume exposition of Martin Shubik's vision of "mathematical institutional economics"—a term he coined in 1959 to describe the theoretical underpinnings needed for the construction of an economic dynamics. The goal is to develop a process-oriented theory of money and financial institutions that reconciles micro- and macroeconomics, using as a prime tool the theory of games in strategic and extensive form.

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