2021 (18), №2

Measuring institutions: What is behind this?



For citation: 

Tambovtsev, V. L. (2021). Measuring institutions: What is behind this? Zhurnal Economicheskoj Teorii [Russian Journal of Economic Theory], 18(2), 197-211. https://doi.org/10.31063/2073-6517/2021.18-2.3


Measurement is an important part of economic research. Economic and other institutions are among the most significant factors affecting economy at macro- and micro-levels. Still no consensus has been reached, however, regarding their adequate measurement. This article puts forward a theoretical model for measuring institutions; it also compares the existing approaches to such measurement and the corresponding methodologies. The proposed theoretical model is based on the new institutional economics and representative measurement theory. The model contains a typology of attributes that can be measured in a variety of institutions and describes possible scales of measurement. The analysis focuses on the two main approaches to measuring institutions: (a) measuring the properties of individual institutions and (b) measuring the quality of the institutional environment of national economies. Within the second approach, two groups of measurement methods are identified and described: multidimensional and one-dimensional. The conclusion is made that most of the existing approaches to measuring institutions have not found their practical applications yet, and some of the approaches described in research literature fail to ensure valid measurements. Prospects for further research in this area are discussed.

Vitaly L. Tambovtsev — Doctor of Economics, Professor, Leading Researcher, Laboratory for Institutional Analysis of Faculty of Economics, Lomonosov Moscow State University (Moscow, Russian Federation; e-mail: tambovtsev@econ.msu.ru).