This course investigates the foundations of comparative economic systems. Broadly defined, comparative economic systems refer to the study of human interaction under alternative institutional arrangements. The overall objective of this course, therefore, will be to use the basic foundations of economic and institutional analysis to understand, across time and place, how individuals have been able to transition from poverty to wealth.
More specifically, however, the focus of study and the particular debates in the field of comparative economic systems has evolved over time across three phases. Before 1989, the core of comparative economics was an examination of the differences in economic, as well as political, performance between capitalism and socialism. During the 1990s and into the early 2000s, the main focus of interest of comparative economists has been the transition from socialism to capitalism. In recent years, mostly as a result of the transition experience of China and India, a new orientation of comparative economics has emerged that focuses on the comparison of the economic effects of the various institutions of capitalism.
Both the lectures and assigned readings will reflect the overall scope of this field of study as well as the particular phases of emphasis.