An important research programme has developed in economics that extends neo-classical economic theory in order to examine the effects of institutions on economic behaviour. The body of work emerging from this line of inquiry includes contributions from various branches of economic theory, such as the economics of property rights, the theory of the firm, cliometrics and law and economics. This book is a comprehensive survey of this research programme which the author terms 'neoinstitutional economics'. The author proposes a unified approach to this research, integrating the work of various contributors and emphasising the common principles of inquiry that tie the work together. The theoretical discussion is accompanied by empirical studies dealing with a range of institutions and economic systems. This book will serve as the primary resource for economists and students who want to learn about this important branch of economic theory.
Part I. Introduction to the Theory: 1. Generalising neoclassical economics: new tools and concepts; 2. Property rights, agency and economic organisation; 3. Explaining the rules; Part II. Property Rights and Economic Outcomes: 4. The economics of exclusive rights; 5. The ownership structure of firms and equilibrium outcomes; Part III. Explaining Economic Organisation: 6. The contractual nature of the firm; 7. The logic of economic organisation; Part IV. Explaining Property Rights: 8. The emergence of property rights; 9. Property rights in stateless societies; 10. The state in neoinstitutional economics.
'The survey succeeds in my view precisely in presenting and linking in a convincing way quite disparate material.' Arthur Denzau, Washington University