The Problem of Credible Commitment in Reconstruction

Journal of Institutional Economics, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 1-23, 2009

23 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2008 Last revised: 25 Oct 2010

Christopher J. Coyne

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Peter J. Boettke

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: September 7, 2008

Abstract

Reconstruction involves military occupation with the aim of rebuilding and reforming both formal and informal institutions along liberal democratic lines. We contend that successful reconstructions require mechanisms which make reforms credible over the long-run. In the absence of a signal of sustained credible commitment, institutional reforms will not be trusted by the populace resulting in the failure of the broader reconstruction. The incentive, information and epistemic aspects of the credible commitment problem are analyzed. We also consider potential solutions to the problem of credible commitment. Absent such solutions, attempts to "export" institutions via military occupation should be either limited in their scope or curtailed entirely.

Keywords: credible commitment, institutions, military occupation, reconstruction, reform

JEL Classification: B52, D74, P41

Suggested Citation

Coyne, Christopher J. and Boettke, Peter J., The Problem of Credible Commitment in Reconstruction (September 7, 2008). Journal of Institutional Economics, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 1-23, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1083391

Christopher J. Coyne (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Peter J. Boettke

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-1149 (Phone)
703-993-1133 (Fax)

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