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Robert Lawson and Ryan Murphy

There are many different indicators of institutional quality that measure one aspect or set of aspects of the social, economic, and political environment. The degree of correlation among these measures leads to a concern that some other more fundamental underlying aspect of the good society is really behind claims that institutions matter. This study examines six indicators of institutional quality to see whether their statistical performance against a common benchmark, GDP per capita, is similar or not. The answer, based on our evidence, is somewhere in the middle. The concepts embedded in the various measures of institutional quality clearly overlap in many ways but in other ways they are very different.