William Easterly, Jo Ritzen, and Michael Woolcock
Economics and Politics, Vol. 18, No. 2.
Social Cohesion, Institutions, and Growth
Policy and institutional quality are to a large extent endogenous. While the truth of this statement is familiar to most development scholars, the implications of it have drawn relatively little empirical attention. Understanding more about this relationship matters, because ‘‘poor institutional quality’’ and ‘‘failure to implement better policies’’ are so frequently identified as the causes of growth collapses, endemic poverty, and civil conflict. Such explanations are logically (and properly) followed by calls to improve institutions and policies, but an implicit assumption in such calls is that realizing them is simply a matter of choice, technocratic skill, and/or sheer political will. Seasoned politicians and policy-makers of goodwill, however, characteristically encounter constraints that are at once more enduring and less tangible in nature.