What Makes Poor Countries Poor?

What Makes Poor Countries Poor?

Institutional Determinants of Development

Michael J. Trebilcock and Mariana Mota Prado

This important book focuses on the idea that institutions matter for development, asking what lessons we have learned from past reform efforts, and what role lawyers can play in this field.

Preface: The Ends and Means of Development

Michael J. Trebilcock and Mariana Mota Prado

Subjects: development studies, law and development, economics and finance, institutional economics, law and economics, law - academic, law and development, law and economics

Extract

Preface This book seeks to offer a concise overview of a field of studies that is often called ‘law and development’. It focuses on the idea that institutions in general – and legal institutions in particular – matter for development, a topic that has generated a voluminous literature in the past ten years. This literature moves away from the assumption that development is primarily an economic problem, and one of its most relevant implications – as we argue in this book – is that lawyers have a very important role to play in this field of study. The central challenge faced by the field of law and development today is that we do not know how to reform dysfunctional institutions. While there is empirical evidence to support the argument that institutions matter for development,1 a series of academic books that have assessed recent institutional reforms in developing countries come to the dismal conclusion that many – perhaps most – of these attempts have failed.2 This book offers some insight into how lawyers and institution builders can best employ their skills to address some of the challenges of institutional reform. The book starts with a brief overview of different concepts and theories of development, situating institutional theories within the larger academic debate on development. It then proceeds to discuss why, whether and how institutions matter in different fields of development. In the domestic sphere, we try to answer these questions by analysing institutional reforms in the public sector (rule of law, political regimes, bureaucracy) and the...