National Chengchi University

Department of Public Finance

Course Outline Fall 2004

Institutional Economics (制度經濟學)

Thursday 234 General Building 270946


Instructor Information   


Brian Chi-ang Lin (林其昂), Ph.D.

Office: General Building 270940

Phone: 50940 (campus) or 2938-7296 (O)



Hours: 10:30-11:30 a.m. Mondays & Wednesdays (Other times by appointment).


Course Description


The goal of this course is to incorporate ‘Institutions’ into economic analysis and, accordingly, expand the research domain of the Economics discipline. To fulfill this goal, the intellectual content of both Original Institutional Economics (OIE), pioneered by Thorstein B. Veblen (1857-1929), John R. Commons (1862-1945), and Wesley C. Mitchell (1874-1948), and further developed by Gunnar Myrdal (1898-1987) and John K. Galbraith, and New Institutional Economics (NIE), developed by Ronald H. Coase, Douglass C. North, Oliver E. Williamson, and Richard A. Posner, will be fully introduced and discussed. Theoretical and empirical work will be given equal consideration in this course.


Course Coverage


I. Original Institutional Economics (OIE) in the Veblen-Ayres tradition.

            a. Examination of the basic elements: theory, method, and philosophy

   b. The process of change, adjustment, and progress

II. New Institutional Economics (NIE) with foci on the legal-economic nexus.

   a. Background and apparatus

   b. Economic analyses of property, contract, and tort liability

III. Applications

  1. Application of Institutional Analysis
  2. Empirical Studies in Institutional Change



Alston, Lee J.; Eggertsson, Thráinn and North, Douglass C. (eds.) Empirical Studies in Institutional Change. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Ayres, C. E. The Theory of Economic Progress: A Study of the Fundamentals of Economic Development and Cultural Change, 3rd edition. Kalamazoo, Michigan: New Issues Press, Western Michigan University, 1978.

Cooter, Robert and Ulen, Thomas. Law and Economics, 4th edition. Boston, Mass.: Pearson Education, 2004. 

Kasper, Wolfgang and Streit, Manfred E. Institutional Economics: Social Order and Public Policy. Northampton, Mass.: Edward Elgar, 1998.

Schmid, A. Allan. Property, Power, and Public Choice: An Inquiry into Law and Economics, 2nd edition. New York: Praeger, 1987.

Tool, Marc R. (ed.) Evolutionary Economics, 2 Volumes. Armonk, New York: M. E. Sharpe, 1988.


Reference Books


1. Galbraith, John Kenneth. The New Industrial State, 4th edition. Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin, 1985.

2. Hodgson, Geoffrey M. (ed.) The Foundations of Evolutionary Economics: 1890-1973, 2 Volumes. Northampton, Mass.: Edward Elgar, 1998.

3. Lindblom, Charles E. Politics and Markets: The World’s Political-Economic   Systems. New York: Basic Books, 1977.

4. Munkirs, John R. The Transformation of American Capitalism: From Competitive Market Structures to Centralized Private Sector Planning. Armonk, New York: M. E. Sharpe, 1985.

5. Polanyi, Karl. The Great Transformation. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1944.

6. Reisman, David. The Institutional Economy: Demand and Supply. Northampton, Mass.: Edward Elgar, 2002.

7. Schlicht, Ekkehart. On Custom in the Economy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

8. Williamson, Oliver E. and Masten, Scott E. (eds.) The Economics of Transaction Costs. Northampton, Mass.: Edward Elgar, 1999.


Course Requirements


1.  One-year subscription to the Journal of Economic Issues (US$ 20)

2.      Class presentation – Each student is required to make two presentations in class. Each presentation is to be a summary of a Journal Article published by the Journal of Economic Issues, Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, Review of Social Economy, Review of Radical Political Economics, Journal of Law and Economics, Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, or other strong-institutional-bent Journals.          

3.      Research paper – Specific guidelines for the research paper will be announced during the semester.

4.      Grades will be determined on the basis of the student’s performance in relation to class attendance and participation, two presentations, and one research paper. Class attendance and participation will be weighted at 10%. Each presentation will be weighted at 20% and the research paper will be weighted at 50%.