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 5: Public goods provision in developing countries: a research agenda for New Institutional Economics

Katrina Kosec and Tewodaj Mogues


Government provision of public goods – especially in poor and developing country contexts – can address market failures and protect citizens’ welfare. However, public goods provision is challenging in low-income economies, where lower levels of education, less developed transportation systems, and less access to technology can erode the incentives and capacity of government to deliver. Weak mechanisms of accountability may exacerbate these problems. This chapter raises two interlinked issues – related to existing political institutions, and to new technologies – influencing public goods provision in developing countries, for which unanswered yet important questions abound. The first concerns remarkable gaps in our understanding of how developing country political institutions, and interactions among institutions, inform the allocation of public funds. The second concerns how the technology-driven information revolution currently taking place is likely to directly change public goods provision in developing countries, as well as change political and other institutions that mold incentives for public investments.

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