Institutions and Globalization
Economists have recently shown that developed economies rely on proper institutions for securing property rights, resolving disputes, etc. Scholars have studied the consequences of alternative legal and political institutions, but much remains to be done. One important and unexplored territory concerns the analysis of how national institutions interact in the international arena. This proposal seeks to study this problem from two perspectives. First, how does the quality of a country s national institutions affect its gains from international integration? Second, how does international integration affect a country s institutional reform path? We address the first question by studying, both theoretically and empirically, the impact of nationalinstitutions on sovereign risk, where the latter is defined as the risk that a government unilaterally decides ex-post not to honor its financial obligations with foreigners. While the impact of national institutions on private capital flows has been studied, the role of these same institutions on supporting government debt has so far received scant attention. As for the second question, we study the impact of political and financial integration on countries institutional reform. We model two different motivations towards institutional change in an integrated world: a) direct confrontation in wars and b) competition through world financial markets. The general thrust of these analyses is that institutional reform becomes a strategic variable in international competition, creating cross-country externalities that can shed light on observed episodes of institutional converge or divergence. We also consider the role of institutional harmonization in supporting economic integration.
IGIER - Università Bocconi