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Dynamics of Social, Political, and Economic Institutions

Organized by Avinash Dixit, Eva M. Meyersson Milgrom, Paul Milgrom

December 3-4, 2010
Irvine, California

Meeting Overview:
Study of institutions that underpin political, social, and economic interactions is flourishing in all social sciences. Political scientists face the perennial issue of balancing the needs of effective decision-making and the necessary constraints on arbitrary exercise of power. Economists have begun to examine the formal and informal legal structures that protect property rights and enforce contracts. Scholars of law and jurisprudence have contributed to our understanding of institutions in both of these fields: constitutions and legislative and case law, as well as arbitration and other mechanisms of private order that function under the shadow of the law. Sociologists study the networks that constitute the structure of social interactions and the norms that govern their function. Anthropologists examine the workings of these institutions and organizations in different cultures and compare them across cultures; historians do the same for past societies.

 Video Available

Friday, December 3, 2010

Session I: Norms, Customs

 Social Norms and Norm Dynamics
Peyton Young
Discussant: Tomás Rodríguez Barraquer, Stanford University

 The Startup Dynamic
Paul Romer
Discussant: Paul Milgrom, Stanford University

 "Impossible" Institution? Dynamics of Brokerage
Kate Stovel

Session II:  Alternative Paths to Institutional Change

 Institutional Dynamics: When Is Change Real Change?
Bruce Carruthers
Discussant: Eva Meyersson Milgrom, Stanford University

Confronting Oppressive Customs: Reformism versus Radicalism
Jean-Philippe Platteau
Discussant: Alexander Wolitzky, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

 The Democratic Legacy of Anti-Colonial Customs
Leonard Wantchekon
Discussant: Jean Ensminger, California Institute of Technology

 Culture, Institutions And The Wealth Of Nations
Gerard Roland
Discussant: David Laitin, Stanford University

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Session III: Institutions in Developing Countries

 Development and the Assignment of Workers to Tasks
Marcel Fafchamps
Discussant: Moussa Blimpo, Stanford University 

 The Problem with Polygyny: Paternal Age and Human Capital Accumulation
Lena Edlund
Discussant: Pablo Querubin, Harvard University

 State-Building: Outside In
Steven Krasner
Discussant: Avinash Dixit, Princeton University

Session IV: Legal Institutions

 What is Law? A Coordination Model of the Characteristics of Legal Order
Gillian Hadfield
Discussant: Antoine Lallour, Stanford University

 Resolving Contested Property Rights
Katarina Pistor
Discussant:  Barak Richman, Duke University

Session V: States and Constitutions

 A Political Model of Social Evolution
Georgy Egorov and Konstantin Sonin
Discussant: Yair Livne, Stanford University

 A Theory of Leadership and State-Building
Roger Myerson
Discussant: Renee Bowen, Stanford University


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