The Importance of Institutions (Brief)

Course

The power of institutions illustrated. But what causes institutions? Can we change institutions?

Download
Options
Translate Practice Questions

Contributed Content (1)

Ask a Question

 
Show 1 Answer (Answer provided by Alex Tabarrok)
user's picture

You may have turned the captions on accidentally. Move the cursor near the bottom of the video, click CC and then look for turn captions off. Most of the videos have rough (machine translated) English captions. Quite a few have good Spanish translations. In the future we will be looking for help to caption all the videos in many languages. Whether you see the captions, however, is entirely under viewer control and not controlled at all by your profile which is just used to gather information.

I had the same issue as John, and I know I certainly didn't click on anything before the video started. Are captions then automatically turned on, and I will have to turn them off each time?

It's a youtube thing, not a MRU thing. Unless Tyler and Alex decide to switch video streaming sources, you'll have to deal with the youtube closed captioning system. I suggest seeing whether you have a preference set in your google account (if you have a google account), since that would be the controlling factor. Also, if you are sometimes logged into your google account, and sometimes not, then that would impact it as well.

Please register or login to answer a question
 
user's picture
 
user's picture

The definition of "culture" is often a function of the specific social domain, eg. one can argue about the characterization of national culture, regional culture, organizational culture, corporate culture, etc. The meaning of "culture" cannot be defined as precisely as the meaning of "institution". In very broad terms, an institution can be defined by a set of rules formally and mutually agreed among the members of a community.
Having said that, I agree 100% with the notion that culture (in its various declinations) can and indeed does contribute to the choice of development path of a community. The thing is that culture, in contrast to institutions, cannot be managed by the community as easily as institutions can.

Please register or login to answer a question
 
Please register or login to answer a question
 
user's picture

I thought the same - that picture could be better. It does not reinforce the points made through the statistics that the reader presents

user's picture

Yet the points you make are not necessarily evidence of the well being of the general population in the two areas. In fact, mansions tend to be evidence of disparities in income, not general welfare.

user's picture

If you travel to Nogales (Az and Sonora), and if you talk to people about living in the two cities, you will quickly come to be convinced that the basic point of the video is absolutely correct. Unless corruption, uncertainty and general chaos are your personal cup of tea, Nogales, AZ is, by far, the more attractive community in which to live. The persuasiveness of the photo as evidence is, I suppose open to interpretation.

Please register or login to answer a question
 
Please register or login to answer a question
 
user's picture

Kevin, I see what you are saying, but I think there is a reasonable definition of "institutions" that might include the fact that sometimes the personality type of the totalitarian ruler is .... idiosyncratic. It seems reasonable to assume that even a staunch defender of totalitarian institutions would acknowledge the importance of choosing the right rulers and the potential for wrong choices as a major downside to that governing arrangement.

user's picture

Kevin,
Another aspect of the research, specifically Acemoglu and Robinson, is that much of what you consider idiosyncratic behavior isn't. In order to maintain despotic control in the modern era, one has to both hobble mass society and aggrandize central power. The institutions that are in place serve to extract wealth from the general population, if there is way to do well for oneself without joining the oppressive class, one won't be beholden to the ruling class. So when marginal degrees of liberation take place the risk is that individuals will see the system for what it is, and that system will become unsustainable very quickly. Once the genie is out of the bottle_ the traditional ruling class can only maintain control through violence or by temporarily placating the masses with brighter economic prospects or further amounts of political freedom. The Arab Spring and its many sprouts provide excellent examples of each of these scenarios. In Egypt, you saw violence initially and then the gradual erosion of power, as new demands from the population were made and met. Oman, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and a few of the more stable gulf states generally took the route of providing greater economic benefits to the population, In Syria and Libya, the government fully committed to military solutions. Don't get me wrong, I know each of these countries have very different economic and political institutions, but none of these countries at the time could be considered democratic, and all of them contain/ed extractive institutions.

Please register or login to answer a question
 
Please register or login to answer a question
 
Please register or login to answer a question
 
Please register or login to answer a question
 
Please register or login to answer a question
 
Please register or login to answer a question
 
Please register or login to answer a question
 
Please register or login to answer a question
 
user's picture

The problem to include "ethical" argument in economic issues is that there are as many ethics as human beings and discussions turn circular and eternal. I think that development economy refers to improve the material wellbeing of people. with as minimal of personal values as possible. A good economy is those where people is richer in material goods and vice versa. I am not meaning that values are not important, but they are personal, as religion, political preferences and so on so there are no room for an nearly objective approach to those issues. In terms of economic development South Korea is more successful than North Korea and I guess that if someone disagree, is perfect but he is not talking about economy or development but on political preferences, which is not the topic.

Please register or login to answer a question
Please register or login to ask a question