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- Ronald Coase argued that the task of economics, like the study of biology, was to understand the real world, specifically the workings of the economic system: consumers, firms, and institutions.
- He called for researchers in general, and economists in particular, to use realistic theories and examples, to carefully study real world institutions, and to weigh the costs and benefits and practical consequences of alternative courses of action.
This article is based on a speech delivered on March 27, 2015 in Washington, DC at a conference titled, “The Next Generation of Discovery: Research and Policy Change Inspired by Ronald Coase.” The conference was co-hosted by the Ronald Coase Institute and the Center for International Private Enterprise to pay tribute to Ronald Coase and celebrate his legacy.Read more...
As the competition for foreign investment is heating up, the functionality of legal systems increasingly plays a central role in determining countries’ ability to attract and retain foreign capital. A functional legal system is not only key in building economic foundations, it is also crucial in safeguarding democratic values. However, in many developing countries legal systems are marred by inconsistencies, and newly written laws frequently fail to properly address the issues they should. This gap between policy design and policy implementation is largely due to weakness in the rule of law – a governing structure dependent on the consistent and systematic applications of legal rules. Although “rule of law” is frequently cited in the development field today, few understand it well at the level of implementation. This article sketches the essential framework of a functioning democratic society based on rule of law and highlights successful private sector-led approaches to building such societies.
Public participation in Egypt has historically been attached to the issue of national liberation, an issue of highest priority until the evacuation of British forces in the 1950s. But the perennially low rates of participation since that time must be explained by a number of socioeconomic and political factors, including cultural and historical traditions, economic barriers, the limited reach of international civil society groups, and the lack of modern examples of popular, if not democratic, participation in Egyptian public life. Encouraging citizens to participate in decision-making is a multidimensional issue that is complicated by the interaction between these various elements. Some progress is already occurring, thanks to globalization and increasing efforts among Egypt’s leadership to open the political process. Changing Egypt into a participatory society, however, will require further fundamental adjustments to the legislative framework, new approaches to education and the media, an improved economic situation, and the establishment of transparency and accountability in Egypt’s institutions to win the trust of the Egyptian people.Read more...
Accepting Responsibility: Moving Beyond Political and Economic Dependence in Post Conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina
In the decade that has passed since the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement, Bosnia and Herzegovina has gone through the painful process of trying to rebuild a country that was destroyed physically, socially, economically, and politically. Reconstruction of the infrastructure, which drew billions of dollars in aid from the international community, is almost complete, but the economy remains weak and the political system is unstable. Privatization efforts, seen as key to economic recovery, were hampered by a lack of healthy money, and most large companies have yet to be privatized. With a government structure that is dependent on the international community’s approval, and an economy that seemed to flourish only because of donor assistance and the gray economy, a new acceptance of responsibility by local governments and business communities is necessary for a true recovery as Bosnia and Herzegovina looks towards European integration. The private sector can lead this initiative by joining together to advocate for economic reforms that will encourage entrepreneurship, local investment, and foreign direct investment.Read more...
Corporate governance scandals in developed countries and the increasingly obvious lack of the appropriate institutions in other countries – property rights, the rule of law, etc. – necessitated the OECD revise their principles for corporate governance, originally issued in 1999. The improvements made in 2003 incorporated input from emerging markets to address the prevalence of family-owned business, privately held firms, and others not traded publicly on stock market. Adopted voluntarily, corporate governance standards and corporate citizenship practices, as well, do not become a burden on employers, but a sustainable way to engage the leadership of business to help shape a better society and healthy private sector.Read more...
During Lebanon’s civil war, local warlords and militias replaced unifying public institutions as the basis of government and social services. The extension of wartime elites into the post-war political system, a common feature in post-conflict countries, resulted in a system ostensibly designed to promote cooperation among competing factions but which, in reality, removed all checks and balances and facilitated the diversion of state resources for private financial and political gain. Government mismanagement combined with the elements of reconstruction – large public works projects, inflows of international assistance, privatizations – provides a recipe for systematic, organized, and almost legitimized corruption. In Lebanon, initial anti-corruption efforts floundered whether they came from elected leaders, the media, international pressure, or civil society because the political system in Lebanon, designed to compel political actors to choose between either consensus or deadlock, may have prevented the resumption of fighting but only at the cost of endemic corruption.Read more...
- Democratic Governance
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- Legal & Regulatory Reform
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CIPE welcomes articles submitted by readers. Most articles run between 3-7 pages (1000-3000 words), but all submissions relevant to CIPE's mission of building accountable, democratic institutions through market-oriented reform will be considered based on merit. Economic Reform Feature Service articles are primarily geared toward an international, non-academic community of businesspeople, economic reformers, and policy-makers. Specific policy recommendations and articles based on direct experience are encouraged. In addition to articles, we are willing to adapt suitable lectures, speeches, research notes, and academic papers.
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