Institutional Economics

Jul 24th, 2016
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American University of Health Sciences
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This course is offered to undergraduate students and designed to last a single semester. Students taking Institutional Economics are expected to have a firm grasp of Microeconomics 1 & 2 and Macroeconomics 1 & 2. Familiarity with the language of game theory, economic history and history of economic thought will help. Course Objective To provide an overview of recent developments in the sub-field of Institutional Economics by exposing students of economics to relevant basic concepts , show how institutions shape the direction of economic incentives, and help the students appreciate the important of the institutional environment in the overall performance of an economy.

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School of EconomicsLecture Notes on Institutional EconomicsLecture OneWhat are institutions?Ostensible, neoclassical economics has very little regard for institutions: it eitherdismissed them or takes them for granted. It is also the case that institutional economicshas so far lacked scientific ambition, and hasnt bothered much with empirical enquiry.Nevertheless, the scope of institutional economics is wide and complex.But what are institutions?Literature simply perceives institutions are rules of game or human designed constructsthat: provide the incentives for economic, social and political actions structure human interactions in the face of uncertainty reduce uncertainty and risks inherent in human exchange help human beings form expectations on what other human beings would dounder specified conditions reduce transactions costsTwo broad types of institutions, namelyFormalThese are codified or spelt out in black and white and include constitutions, laws,legislations, policies both public and private, agreements and service contracts,conventions, codes of conduct, rules and regulations.InformalThese are never written anywhere but people behave in accordance with them and arecommonly understood by those for whom they apply. Examples of informal institutionsinclude peoples values and norms, traditions, attitudes, worldviews, common etiquette.Formal/InformalThese are institutions that have formal and informal orientations. Markets

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