Institutions, Organizations & Growth
Members of CIFAR's Institutions, Organizations & Growth program have made considerable progress in documenting how political and economic institutions affect economic growth.
Their research reveals that accountable leadership and transparent institutions are pivotal to economic growth, and that they need to be fostered alongside more traditionally acknowledged means of development. Such endeavors depend on understanding and working with community institutions. These institutions vary greatly in structure and values, due to differences in geography, history, culture, religion and other factors.
The mix of factors that influences the wealth of any given country is unique and complex. CIFAR researchers, though, are beginning to decode this complexity.
Consider the question of why countries with similar natural endowments follow such differing arcs of economic and political development. CIFAR researchers trace how historical colonial institutions continue to affect modern-day economic successes and failures. Countries that began with more effective governing structures, legal systems and other institutions still enjoy better economic success as a result.
Program members have also developed analytical frameworks to assess how institutions and organizations influence economic outcomes and then used these frameworks to interpret the evidence. Their work on game theory, for example, focuses on how individuals within a group interact and how the net outcome of those interactions affects the group as a whole.
The large body of research produced by members contributes significantly to a new and profound understanding that institutions and organizations are not static entities, but dynamic forces with the power to affect citizens, communities and global development.
Program members also strive to understand better how political and social regimes evolve. This work can inform and improve national and international policy on a variety of issues. It is also relevant to understanding issues such as political corruption, foreign aid and violent conflicts.