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Rosolino A. Candela



Articles by Rosolino A. Candela

A Review of Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt

18 days ago

The current political climate across Western democracies, in particular the United States, has been one marked by increasing ideological polarization. Given this phenomenon, How Democracies Die is an important work of admonition against a particular tragedy of democracy. As the authors eloquently write, the “tragic paradox of the electoral route to authoritarianism is that democracy’s assassins use the very institutions of democracy—gradually, subtly, and even legally—to kill it” (p. 8). How Democracies Die provides a message that is simple, yet not simplistic, and timely, but (hopefully) not too late.

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A Review of Claude Menard and Elodie Bertrand

18 days ago

As Ronald Coase stated in his Nobel Prize Address, “the main activity of economists, it seems to me, has been to fill the gaps in Adam Smith’s system, to correct his errors, and to make his analysis vastly more exact” (1992: 713). Coase’s contributions, as highlighted by the excellent contributions put together in this volume, have drawn economists’ attention away from what Coase referred to as “blackboard economics” (1992: 714) and towards empirical observation of the “institutional structure” within which exchange and production take place. From his earliest work on the theory of the firm to his study of China’s transition to capitalism, The Elgar Companion to Ronald H. Coase emphasizes Coase’s particular attention to institutional detail in explaining exchange behavior in all of its

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A Review of Magnus Henrekson and Tino Sanandaji

18 days ago

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A Review of Paul Dragos Aligica

18 days ago

At the end of her Nobel Prize address, Elinor Ostrom (2010, p. 665) wrote that ‘to explain the world of interactions and outcomes occurring at multiple levels, we also have to be willing to deal with complexity instead of rejecting it.’ She asserted that institutional theorists across disciplines must go ‘beyond markets and states’ to observe the multitude of alternative institutional arrangements that individuals craft to govern their interactions. Inspired by this message, Paul Dragos Aligica embraces the task of synthesizing into a coherent paradigm the underlying themes that resonate throughout Elinor and Vincent Ostrom’s political economy, a body of work that is empirically rooted in four decades of case studies analyzing problems of collective action and self-governance. Aligica also

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A Review of Edmund Phelps

18 days ago

James Buchanan argued that the role of the political economist is to “stress the technical economic principles that one must understand in order to assess alternative arrangements for promoting peaceful cooperation and productive specialization among free men. Yet political economists go further and frankly try to bring out into the open the philosophical issues that necessarily underlie all discussions of the appropriate functions of government and all proposed economic policy measures”(1958, p. 5). Although Buchanan is never mentioned in Mass Flourishing, Edmund Phelps, a Nobel laureate in economics, embraces this role of the political economist in analyzing the positive and normative implications of modern economic growth that began in the West during the early nineteenth century.

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The Morality of the Market Process

20 days ago

Do markets make the conditions for moral action possible? To answer to this question, I will develop the normative implications of competition in the market process. As a value-free science, positive economics illustrates the economic consequences of different forms of competitive behavior for resource allocation and income distribution. In this paper, I explore the normative implications of competition under alternative institutional arrangements. I distinguish between catallactic competition, based upon an individual’s willingness and ability to pay for resources generated through trade and productive specialization, and non-catallactic competition, based upon legal status and privilege generated through political exchange. I argue that the normative implications of substituting market,

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Public Choice

20 days ago

Public Choice, broadly defined, is the economic analysis of nonmarket decision-making. My primary focus in this chapter will be on the central importance of the “Virginia School” of Public Choice, specifically in two aspects. First, Public Choice was central to countering the presumption of market failure among economists, beginning in the 1950s and 1960s. Second, yet less emphasized, is the role in which Public Choice played in analyzing the economics of anarchy, beginning in the 1970s. Although seemingly disconnected, both aspects of the Virginia School are linked by the fundamental question of political economy: Under what institutional conditions can social order emerge unintendedly from the self-interest of individuals? Therefore, in both respects, the Virginia School has been central

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The Role of Transaction Costs in Douglass North’s Understanding of the Process of Change in Economic History

November 23, 2020

Douglass North changed the way we think about economic history. He pioneered the application of quantitative techniques to the understanding of historical fluctuations (cliometrics). He also transformed the way we think about social change. Early in his career, he embraced the neoclassical paradigm, only to reject it later because of its limitations. He proposed a series of innovative concepts that enriched our understanding of the causes of economic performance through time (the title and subject of his Nobel lecture). These ideas include the importance of property rights and institutions (formal and informal), economic organization and transaction costs, mental models, culture, and ideology. These ideas and others interact in complex ways and ultimately help explain why some societies

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Institutional Analysis, Polycentricity, and Federalism in the Bloomington School

November 23, 2020

The particular focus of this chapter will be to analyze institutional change from an Ostromian perspective by analyzing the relationship between self-governance, polycentricity, and federalism. Throughout work of Elinor and Vincent Ostrom, there exist two consistent themes regarding the importance of federalism for polycentric governance. First, the Ostroms emphasized that the institutional conditions of federalism are a human artifact, based upon choice and deliberation. However, given their emphasis on processes of learning among human beings, this second theme suggests, as I argue in this chapter, a bi-directionality in institutional analysis in the Ostromian framework. Though federalism and polycentric governance are based on deliberate choice, such an institutional framework

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The political economy of insecure property rights

September 1, 2020

How did the evolution of the rule of law become stunted in Sicily during the 19th century? The work of economist Yoram Barzel, particularly his property-rights approach to understanding the political economy of state formation, is uniquely suited to understanding the failure of Italy’s unification process to secure the rule of law in Sicily during the 19th century. This failure can be explained by a lack of a credible commitment to the rule of law in the state formation process. I argue that this lack of credible commitment manifested itself in the abolition of previously existing parliamentary institutions as an independent collective action mechanism, as well as prior constitutional agreements that existed in the Kingdom of Sicily. The resulting uncertainty over the security and legal

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