Institutions and Transition

Posted: 3 Jan 2006

See all articles by Peter Murrell

Peter Murrell

University of Maryland - Department of Economics

Date Written: December 7, 2005


Prepared for The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition, this essay examines the evolution of both institutions and economists' thinking on institutions during transition. Early in transition, institutions were virtually ignored in the majority of normative prescriptions, but were central in the evolutionary-institutional approach. Later, after events influenced intellectual developments, institutions were at the center of analysis. Growth is strongly related to institutional construction. Transition countries built institutions speedily but with marked variation across countries. Legal systems and independent governmental agencies were sources of institutional growth, while government bureaucracies and informal mechanisms detracted from institutional growth. In China, reforms addressed problems that institutions usually do, but in unusual ways.

Keywords: Institutions, transition, evolutionary-institutional, shock therapy, gradualism, China, law

JEL Classification: P2, P3, N4, O17, K0

Suggested Citation

Murrell, Peter, Institutions and Transition (December 7, 2005). Available at SSRN:

Peter Murrell (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States
301-405-3476 (Phone)
301-405-3542 (Fax)

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