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Economics / Business

Comparative Institutional Analysis

(Edward Elgar 2011)

Masahiko Aoki

This heavy going and rather heavy volume looks at the role of economic institutions in the international economy. The author seeks to show how the application of game theory can add to our understanding of change or stasis. The book seeks to provide a better understanding of the ways in which economic institutions change, or remain static, in response to constantly fluctuating environmental factors like rapid technological advance, the increasingly global integration of markets and rapid demographic change. Historical events such as the end of the Cold War and, more recently, the Japanese and then Asian financial crises have had significant institutional impacts on seemingly diverse economies. The author brings together examples from the west (Europe and the US) as well as East Asia to offer a trans-national and interdisciplinary means to understand and compare economic institutions.
The book is divided into three parts. The first part looks at the basic types of institutions or what the author terms, ‘proto-institutions’, the second outlines the author’s ‘game-theoretic framework’ through which the book analyzes change and diversity within global economic institutions. The third provides examples and analysis of institutional diversity. The book concludes with thoughts on the evolution of such institutional variety, arguing that it is precisely this diversity that will make the world economy more robust and offer protection from unforeseen future economic shocks. The global economic environment has evolved into a complex structure where numerous institutions interact and merge with each other in competitive or complementary ways.

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