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Online Book Discussion

Russians and Americans discussing the ideas of a Nobel Prize



Date & Time

September 21, 2015, 5:00 pm5:00 pm


Russians and Americans discussing the ideas of a Nobel Prize winning economist.  

That is the purpose of an online book discussion group Professor Dennis Coates is organizing.  Using a Facebook group, Russian students and faculty from the Higher School of Economics in Perm, Russia (and possibly from other universities is Russia and in Spain) and American students from UMBC will describe their interpretations and raise questions about the meaning of “Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance” written by Nobel prize winning economist Douglass North.  Participants are invited to comment on the interpretations and questions raised by other members of the group.

Here is a description of the themes of “Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance” from the Cambridge University Press website:
“Institutions vary widely in their consequences for economic performance; some economies develop institutions that produce growth and development, while others develop institutions that produce stagnation. North first explores the nature of institutions and explains the role of transaction and production costs in their development. The second part of the book deals with institutional change. Institutions create the incentive structure in an economy, and organizations will be created to take advantage of the opportunities provided within a given institutional framework. North argues that the kinds of skills and knowledge fostered by the structure of an economy will shape the direction of change and gradually alter the institutional framework. He then explains how institutional development may lead to a path-dependent pattern of development. “

How will American and Russian readers perceive North’s argument and conclusions?  The book was published in 1990.  Do the arguments and conclusions stand up to the test of time over the last 25 years?

If this discussion is something you wish to participate in, send a Facebook friend request to Dennis Coates at coates.discussion@gmail.com.  You will then be invited to the discussion group called Institutions discussion.