Does Economic Governance Matter?
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Does Economic Governance Matter?

Governance Institutions and Outcomes

  • New Directions in Modern Economics series

Edited by Mehmet Ugur and David Sunderland

This book contributes to the growing governance literature in three ways. First, it extends the analysis to new areas such as power asymmetry, regulation, transnational company strategies, and law enforcement. Secondly, it examines the role of formal institutions that shape and enforce the rules/norms codified in law; but also private-ordering institutions that function under the umbrella of the State; and private institutions (such as market rules/norms) that provide reputational and other information that foster compliance. Finally, the book extends and enriches the governance debate, addressing issues such as the determinants of institutional quality and efficiency, and the interaction between actor networks and institutional norms.
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Chapter 2: Governance and Asymmetric Power

Korkut Alp Ertürk

Extract

2. Governance and asymmetric power1 Korkut Alp Ertürk INTRODUCTION Recent developments that broadly go under the heading ‘Post Walrasian or neo-Institutionalist Economics’ have carried contract and property right enforcement to the very centre of economic analysis. Enforcement issues that emanate from rational behaviour under less than ideal conditions, where the government can be counted on to enforce effectively neither property rights nor contractual obligations, have had increasing real-world relevance in recent decades as well. Think of issues that gained currency with globalization. Whether it is the much talked about weakening of the nation state, market reform chipping away at the developmental or welfare state as the case might be, or the shock therapy that transition economies had to go through, or, yet, the proliferation of failed states and the wars of pre-emption, in all, efficient government enforcement (along with provisioning of public goods) could hardly be taken for granted. At the level of abstract theory, renewed interest in enforcement issues poses anew the intriguing question as to what would rational behaviour and market exchange entail in the absence of effective and costless enforcement of property rights and contractual obligations of individuals towards one another. What would give order to a Hobbesian ‘state of nature’ with a Leviathan who has fallen asleep? For instance, would peaceable exchange result from the interaction of self-seeking individuals who have to rely on their own devices to enforce contracts and protect their claims on property?2 Under such conditions, how would market relations affect...

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