Limited Access Orders: An Introduction to the Conceptual Framework
Posted: 13 Jul 2012 Last revised: 29 Jan 2015
Date Written: 2013
The paper lays out a new framework for understanding problems of development. It emphasizes that all societies must solve the problem of violence and distinguishes between two ways in which societies solve this problem. Limited access orders, covering most developing countries today, solve the problem of violence by granting political elites privileged control over parts of the economy, each getting some share of the rents. Since outbreaks of violence reduce the rents, elite factions have incentives to refrain from violence most of the time. Stability of the rents and thus of the social order requires limiting access and competition. In contrast, open access orders, which dominate the modern developed world, control the problem of violence through open access and competition. The framework provides a new view of development. It shows that transplanting institutions from open access orders into limited access orders – such as markets, elections, and corporate law – often do not have their intended effect because the institutions work differently under limited access than open access. When development policy advice threatens the logic of stability in limited access orders, these societies often resist or sabotage the recommended measures.
Keywords: Political economy of development; control of violence, comparative economic systems
JEL Classification: O1, H1, P5
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation