Some Lessons from Transaction-Cost Politics for Less-Developed Countries

27 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2003

See all articles by Avinash Dixit

Avinash Dixit

Princeton University - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)


Transaction-cost politics views economic policy-making as a political process constrained by asymmetric information and limited commitment possibilities. This paper examines some implications of this perspective for less-developed countries (LDCs) considering policy reform. It emphasizes that success requires reform of the rules and institutions which govern the strategic interaction of the participants in the political game, and that reforms must cope with the special interests and asymmetric information which already exist. In this light, it examines some broad issues of the design of constitutions and institutions (definition and enforcement of property rights, control of inflation, and of government expenditures, federalism, and redistribution), as well as some specific issue of the design of organizations and incentives (problems posed by the interaction of multiple tasks and multiple interests, and their interaction with the limitations on auditing and administration that exists in many LDCs).

Suggested Citation

Dixit, Avinash K., Some Lessons from Transaction-Cost Politics for Less-Developed Countries. Available at SSRN:

Avinash K. Dixit (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States
609-258-4000 (Phone)
609-258-6419 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679


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