Toward a Comparative Institutional Analysis
560 pp., 7 x 9 in, 33 illus.
- Published: November 9, 2001
A conceptual and analytical framework for understanding economic institutions and institutional change.
Markets are one of the most salient institutions produced by humans, and economists have traditionally analyzed the workings of the market mechanism. Recently, however, economists and others have begun to appreciate the many institution-related events and phenomena that have a significant impact on economic performance. Examples include the demise of the communist states, the emergence of Silicon Valley and e-commerce, the European currency unification, and the East Asian financial crises.
In this book Masahiko Aoki uses modern game theory to develop a conceptual and analytical framework for understanding issues related to economic institutions. The wide-ranging discussion considers how institutions evolve, why their overall arrangements are robust and diverse across economies, and why they do or do not change in response to environmental factors such as technological progress, global market integration, and demographic change.
In this book Professor Aoki does a remarkable job of animating recent developments in the theory of contracts and institutions. This theory is used to explain the form and structure of diverse institutions, ranging from the regulation of irrigation systems in Tokugawa Japan to the rise of Silicon Valley. This book is an astounding achievement that is sure to become a classic.
W. Bentley MacLeod, Professor of Economics and Law, University of Southern California
This book has an outstanding intellectual sweep, covering game theory and abstract economics on the one hand, and a wide diversity of anthropological examples and illustrations from the real world, on the other.
Kaushik Basu, Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor, Cornell University
If the new institutional economics is to realize its promise, it must go beyond the description, insights, and hypotheses so far developed and turn them into a systematic theoretical framework. Masahiko Aoki's Towards a Comparative Institutional Analysis takes us a long way in doing just that.
Douglass C. North, Department of Economics, University of Washington St. Louis