Readings and class materials for Tuesday, January 24, 2023


  •  Chapter 1 in Douglass C. North, Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).

  •  Chapters 1, 11, and 12 in Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty (New York: Crown Business, 2012).

  • Paul J. DiMaggio and Walter W. Powell, “The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Fields,” American Sociological Review 48, no. 2 (April 1983): 147–60,

  • Lee J. Alston, “Beyond Institutions: Beliefs and Leadership,” The Journal of Economic History 77, no. 2 (June 2017): 353–72,

Really good but optional

  •  Chapter 2 in Elinor Ostrom, Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).

Article discussion reminder

How to discuss an article in a seminar

  • Who wrote the article? What’s their background?
  • General summary of the article
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • How does it connect to other readings?
  • How does it connect to the broader course themes?
  • How does it connect to current events?
  • What does it add to our Global Bureaucracy Toolkit?

Plan for the day

  • Mini-presentation on governance

  • Mini-presentation and discussion on institutions

  • Overview of different conceptions of institutions

  • Institutions and comparative public administration

    • North, Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance.
    • Acemoglu and Robinson, Why Nations Fail.
    • DiMaggio and Powell, “The Iron Cage Revisited.”
    • Alston, “Beyond Institutions.”