A Research Agenda for New Institutional Economics
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A Research Agenda for New Institutional Economics

Edited by Claude Ménard and Mary M. Shirley

Consisting of 30 concise chapters written by top scholars, this Research Agenda probes the knowledge frontiers of issues long at the forefront of New Institutional Economics (NIE), including government, contracts and property rights. It examines pressing research questions surrounding norms, culture, and beliefs. It is designed to inform and inspire students and those starting their careers in economics, law and political science. Well-established scholars will also find the book invaluable in updating their understanding of crucial research questions and seeking new areas to explore.
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Chapter 2: What is next for the study of non-democracy?

Scott Gehlbach


The vast majority of the world's population has always had limited access to political (and economic) institutions. Yet until recently the overwhelming share of intellectual effort in political economy, if not always New Institutional Economics, was devoted to the study of mature democracies. This imbalance has begun to be reversed, and with vigor. Much of the contemporary literature on non-democracy falls into two broad areas of inquiry: (1) the analysis of formal institutions such as elections, parties, and legislatures, and (2) the study of autocratic control, typically through the manipulation of beliefs. Scholars of NIE will recognize in this characterization a familiar divide between formal institutions, on the one hand, and social norms and beliefs, on the other. Looking ahead, the most promising opportunities for research lie in a truly comparative analysis of the formal institutions of non-democracy and the study of how formal and informal institutions interact.

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