The Impact of Administrative Power on Political and Economic Developments: Toward Political Economy of Implementation

48 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2007 Last revised: 24 Dec 2007

See all articles by Avner Greif

Avner Greif

Stanford University - Department of Economics; Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)

Date Written: December 20, 2007

Abstract

Why did limited government and 'constitutionalism' (the rule of law, constitutional rules, and political representation) evolve in some societies but not others? Guided by history, this paper examines why this evolution reflects dependence on administrators to implement policy choices including those affecting them. Limited government and constitutionalism are manifestations of equilibria in which the administrators have the power to influence choices. The thesis that constitutionalism reflects an equilibrium among the powerful differs from the prevailing one, which asserts that it reflects gains to the weak from constraining the powerful. Analyzing the determinants and implications of administrative power reveals its impact on trajectories of economic development. Distinct administrative-power equilibria have different impacts on the security of the non-elite's property rights; intra-state and inter-state violence (e.g. civil wars and wars, respectively); policies; entry barriers to new technologies and economic sectors; the nature of political conflicts; and the means to resolve conflicts concerning political rights.

Keywords: Political Institutions, Economic Institutions, Development, Constitutionalism

JEL Classification: N00, N4, O00, P00, D70, K00

Suggested Citation

Greif, Avner, The Impact of Administrative Power on Political and Economic Developments: Toward Political Economy of Implementation (December 20, 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1004394 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1004394

Avner Greif (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building
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Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States
650-725-8936 (Phone)

Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) ( email )

180 Dundas Street West, Suite 1400
Toronto, Ontario
Canada

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