Peter Murrell's research while affiliated with University of Maryland, College Park and other places

Publications (118)

Article
We argue that topic-modeling, an unsupervised machine-learning technique for analysis of large corpora, can be a powerful tool for legal-historical research. We provide a non-technical introduction to topic-modeling driven by the presentation of an example of how researchers can use the data that topic-modeling produces. The context of the example...
Article
We explore English legal evolution by empirically investigating the relevance of late-medieval and early-modern legal ideas for caselaw development during the Industrial Revolution, an era of unprecedented societal change. To ascertain the prevalence of specific legal ideas in pre-1765 case reports, we draw on existing topic model estimates. We mea...
Article
Full-text available
A characterization of the ideas of Francis Bacon and Edward Coke, two preeminent English lawyer-scholars, provides insights into the nature of the legal–intellectual culture of early seventeenth-century England. This emerging culture remains underexplored, even though it immediately preceded and provided essential input into the ‘culture of growth,...
Article
This is the second of two papers that generate and analyze quantitative estimates of the development of English caselaw and associated legal ideas before the Industrial Revolution. In the first paper, we estimated a 100-topic structural topic model, named the topics, and showed how to interpret topic-prevalence timelines. Here, we provide examples...
Article
The history of England's institutions has long informed research on comparative economic development. Yet to date, there exists no quantitative evidence on a core aspect of England's institutional evolution, that embodied in the accumulated decisions of English courts. Focusing on the two centuries before the Industrial Revolution, we generate and...
Article
Full-text available
Using a unique data set of Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) contracts from the 1980s and early 1990s, we explore those mechanisms of historical persistence resulting from China's unique colonial experience. Adopting difference-in-differences as well as difference-in-difference in differences analysis within conditional logit, we provide evid...
Article
We use machine-learning methods to study the features and origins of the ideas of Francis Bacon, a key figure who provided the intellectual roots of a cultural paradigm that spurred modern economic development. Bacon's works are the data in an estimation of a structural topic model, a recently developed methodology for analysis of text corpora. The...
Article
We examine the effect of relationship-specific investment on the use of detailed contracts using data on transactions from a survey of Romanian firms. In those transactions, seller relationship-specific investment increases the amount of contractual detail, while buyer relationship-specific investment decreases it. We interpret these results using...
Article
This paper challenges a belief that is deeply embedded in mainstream economics—that 1688–1701 saw a fundamental transformation in England that sprang from changes in the highest-level institutions designed by those who understood how to effect productive reform. This is the design hypothesis. The alternative is that change occurred in many features...
Article
How effective institutions come about and how they change are fundamental questions for economics and social science more generally. We show that these questions were central in the deliberations of lawyers in 17th century England, a critical historical juncture that has motivated important institutional theories. We argue that the lawyers held a c...
Article
Random response questions have been used as a survey technique to elicit candid responses to sensitive questions for half a century, despite relatively little evidence as to their effectiveness in doing so. We reconsider surprising recent evidence that random response questions apparently were quite effective in eliciting candid retrospective respo...
Article
Corruption estimates rely largely on self-reports of affected individuals and officials. Yet survey respondents are often reticent to tell the truth about sensitive subjects, leading to downward biases in surveybased corruption estimates. This paper develops a method to estimate the prevalence of reticent behavior and reticence-adjusted rates of co...
Article
Four specialists on the Russian economy analyze the extent to which enterprises use law and legal institutions in structuring exchange relations. The analysis uses the responses from questionnaires administered to sixty officials of fifteen enterprises in Moscow and Yekaterinburg during May-June 1996, supplemented by interviews in enterprises and w...
Article
In an extended comment on work by this paper's authors, Gustafsson (2013) reaches scathing judgments on Russia's arbitrazh (or commercial) courts and draws strong conclusions about the prospects for the rule of law in Russia. He concludes that litigants use the courts because they can bribe the judges. His paper revives old tales about the 1990's t...
Article
This paper is a revision of the 2011 Presidential address to the Association for Comparative Economic Studies. It examines the characteristics of comparative economics in the years 1977-1992, using computational tools to conduct intellectual history, by collecting extensive data on the character of publications. These data, presented in figures, de...
Article
We examine how cultural and institutional development interact with each other over time, constructing new annual measures of cultural dynamics and institutional development for a paradigmatic episode of change, seventeenth century England. The institutional measures reflect citations of cases and statutes appearing in later legal decisions, thereb...
Article
Empirical evidence shows that developing countries with opaque institutions receive procyclical Official Development Aid (ODA) while developing countries with transparent institutions receive acyclical or countercyclical ODA. This paper provides a dynamic equi-librium model of optimal aid policy that quantitatively accounts for this fact. In the mo...
Article
A methodology is presented for transaction-cost measurement using reports from businesses. In Romania, transaction costs related to buying and selling are more than 20% of value added. The estimates correlate significantly with variables suggested by theory, indicating validity.
Article
A potential concern with survey-based data on corruption is that respondents may not be fully candid in their responses to sensitive questions. If reticent respondents are less likely to admit to involvement in corrupt acts, and if the proportion of reticent respondents varies across groups of interest, comparisons of reported corruption across tho...
Article
We implement a methodology that identifies respondents who are reticent in answering sensitive questions on surveys. The methodology entails asking a series of randomized response questions and identifies the reticent as those who give a set of answers that can arise only with an implausibly low probability. In a sample of Romanian company official...
Article
We revisit the ubiquitous claim that aiding civil society improves institutional outcomes. In our model, a vibrant civil society initiates public debate in a reform process otherwise dominated by partisan interest groups and politicians. Civil society involvement can alleviate or aggravate adverse selection problems that arise because interest grou...
Article
A fundamental question in economic development is how societies first acquire a successful set of institutions. To examine this question, the paper focuses on a paradigmatic example, England in the years surrounding the Glorious Revolution of 1688. North and Weingast (1989) view the constitutional changes following 1688 as an explicit attempt to de...
Article
We offer a new perspective on the effect of relationship-specific investment on contract complexity, which has broad implications because complex contracts and vertical integration are substitutes. A simple model using transaction cost economics (TCE) predicts that buyer and seller relationship-specific investments have opposite effects on contract...
Chapter
This article examines the evolution of institutions and economists’ thinking on institutions during transition. Early in transition, institutions were virtually ignored in the majority of normative prescriptions, but were central in the evolutionary institutional approach. Later, after events influenced intellectual developments, institutions were...
Article
We revisit the ubiquitous claim that aiding civil society improves institutional outcomes. In our model, a vibrant civil society initiates public debate in a reform process that would otherwise be dominated by partisan interest groups and politicians. By altering the incentives of interest groups submitting institutional reforms, civil society invo...
Article
We examine spatial spillovers between countries in the development of institutions. Our dependent variables are three measures of institutions that relate to politics, law, and governmental administration. The major explanatory variable on which we focus is a spatial lag of the dependent variable, that is, the level of similar institutions in borde...
Article
Self-regulation is common, but comparative analysis of self-regulation and government regulation is rare. This paper identifies conditions determining whether regulation is delegated or centralized, analyzing the welfare implications of regulatory regime choice. Because regulatory authority determines who controls residual lawmaking, property right...
Article
Organized legal professions often play a central role in successful institutional development. The paper’s model examines how legal professions affect institutional reform. Professional review of reform proposals solves a politician’s informational problem in a way that makes democracy, political stability, and professional power substitutes. The m...
Article
Although a common institutional arrangement, self-regulation as an alternative to direct government regulation has received relatively little attention from economists. This paper uses a framework inspired by property rights theory to analyze the allocation of regulatory authority. In a model of a regulatory process with bargaining, the authority t...
Article
This paper surveys China's legal system in the economic reform era. We analyze the role of law in the economy, assessing whether China's formal legal system contributed to those expectations of stable and predictable rights of property and contract that are prerequisites for growth. The paper begins by detailing legal developments. The relationship...
Article
Prepared for The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition, this essay examines the evolution of both institutions and economists' thinking on institutions during transition. Early in transition, institutions were virtually ignored in the majority of normative prescriptions, but were central in the evolutionary-institutional approach. Later...
Article
This paper provides a survey on studies that analyze the macroeconomic effects of intellectual property rights (IPR). The first part of this paper introduces different patent policy instruments and reviews their effects on R&D and economic growth. This part also discusses the distortionary effects and distributional consequences of IPR protection a...
Book
This book is about the institutions, incentives and constraints that guide the behaviour of people and organizations involved in the implementation of foreign aid programmes. While traditional performance studies tend to focus almost exclusively on the policies and institutions in recipient countries, this book looks at incentives in the entire cha...
Article
Prepared for the "Handbook Of New Institutional Economics." Focusing on firm behavior, the paper examines the collapse of socialist institutions, the building of capitalist institutions, changing firm boundaries, transactional governance, corporate governance, and use of the legal system. The contrast between law's use in transactions and its relat...
Article
In recent years, comparative economics experienced a revival, with a new focus on comparing capitalist economies. The theme of the new research is that institutions exert a profound influence on economic development. We argue that, to understand capitalist institutions, one needs to understand the basic tradeoff between the costs of disorder and th...
Article
At present, there is no generally accepted accounting of the institutional strengths and weaknesses of the transition economies. The first goal of the paper is to fill this gap by assessing current levels of institutional development. The second is to examine which types of institutional mechanisms make relatively strong contributions. Extensive em...
Article
A new methodology measures the importance of different mechanisms for supporting agreements. Romanian company directors were surveyed on a full complement of mechanisms. Bilateralism is preponderant and law used extensively, with third parties less important. These three are non-complementary.
Article
We survey the empirical literature analyzing the process of enterprise restructuring in transition economies. The survey provides new insights into the relative effectiveness of different reform policies, and into how this effectiveness varies across regions. We study the effects of privatization, the importance of different types of owners, the ef...
Article
The transition from state socialism toward market capitalism has led to an almost endless supply of new laws and legal institutions. Industrial enterprises need to adapt to this new institutional regime. In-house lawyers are well placed to be agents of change in facilitating this adjustment. Using survey data from 328 Russian enterprises, the artic...
Article
What role do law and legal institutions play in the economies that are in the midst of revolutionary change away from centrally planned socialism? The essays in this book address that question. The authors ask whether law can be effective in this rapidly changing and often chaotic environment, what fac-tors determine the success of legal and instit...
Article
Assembling a supply-demand model for commercial court services suggests methodological problems in existing empirical studies. Estimates for Romania show the simultaneous relation between congestion and caseload and the exogenous effects of resources, legal culture, options for appeal, and economic environment. Using an inappropriate statistical me...
Article
00 to the Center on Institutional Reform and the Informal Sector (IRIS). The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this paper are entirely those of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the views of the World Bank, its Executive Directors, or the countries they represent. 1 A full discussion of the law governing contractu...
Article
To ascertain the prevalence of soft budgets and to find causes of softness, we surveyed Mongolian enterprises, asking whether state aid was expected when financial difficulties arose. One-quarter of the enterprises expected soft budgets, a large proportion of which have central government ownership. We examine causes of soft budgets in addition to...
Article
Mongolia's mass privatization program was implanted in a country that lacked the very basic institutions of capitalism. This paper examines the effects of competition and ownership on the efficiency of the newly privatized enterprises, using a representative sample of enterprises and controlling for possible selection biases. Competition has quanti...
Article
The most intensive area of empirical research on transition countries has been the examination of enterprise-level data to ascertain whether enterprises have responded productively to changes in ownership. The authors identify more than 125 empirical studies that examine the determinants of enterprise restructuring using sound methodologies applied...
Article
Exit (owners selling their shares) and voice (owners active in corporate activities) are important ingredients in the process by which mass privatization changes managerial behaviour in transition countries. We examine the structure of ownership and the extent of exit and voice in one such country, Mongolia. We document the size of ownership change...
Article
We use survey data to examine whether law and legal institutions add value to Russian transactions. Enterprises view legal institutions relatively benignly. Inter-enterprise contacts are important in resolving transactional problems, but courts are used when negotiations fail. Legal strategies affect transactional success, while the potential for h...
Article
Exit (owners selling their shares) and voice (owners active in corporate activities) are important ingredients in the process by which mass privatization changes managerial behaviour in transition countries. We examine the structure of ownership and the extent of exit and voice in one such country, Mongolia. We document the size of ownership change...
Article
Mongolia's mass privatization program was implanted in a country that lacked the very basic institutions of capitalism. This paper examines the effects of competition and ownership on the efficiency of the newly privatized enterprises, using a representative sample of enterprises and controlling for possible selection biases. Competition has quanti...
Article
Patterns in the cross-section of returns from stocks bought for vouchers in Mongolia's privatization program mirror those from developed countries. Stocks in companies with high book-to-market ratios subsequently earned returns far bigger than those in companies with low ratios, a result very robust to changes in specification and sample. Features...
Article
We examine whether Galanter's repeat player (RP) concept helps in deciphering the law-related behavior of Russian enterprises. We adapt the RP concept to the Russian context defining the Russian repeat player (RRP). Using data from 328 enterprises, we examine whether RRP-ness explains the use of protokols of disagreement, petitioning to freeze asse...
Article
This article inquires into the attitude of Russian enter-prises toward law and legal institutions within the context of conflict resolution. The authors examine the regional varia-tion in how Russian enterprises do business with one another, focusing on specific strategies used to resolve conflict. Con-trary to popular belief, the Russian business...
Article
We examine how Russian enterprises do business with one another, focusing on the strategies used to obtain efficiency and predictability in their transactions. Using survey data, the paper analyzes the relative importance of relational contracting, self-enforcement, enterprise networks, private security firms, administrative institutions, and court...
Article
We examine how Russian enterprises do business with one another, focusing on the strategies used to obtain efficiency and predictability in their transactions. Using survey data, the paper analyzes the relative importance of relational contracting, self-enforcement, enterprise networks, private security firms, administrative institutions, and court...
Article
We examine existing results on the effect of speed of liberalization on growth during transition. We highlight methodological problems in existing studies, noting the existence of simultaneity and the use of variables that are not valid measures of the phenomena they supposedly represent. We implement solutions, examining the simultaneous relations...
Article
We examine the effects of governmental decentralization in Mongolia, using data gathered in mid-1996 from 251 large privatized enterprises that have either local or central government ownership or are completely private. Focusing on enterprise-state relations, we investigate governmental involvement in corporate bodies, soft budgets, subsidies, sta...
Article
This paper analyses, in a simple two-region model, the undertaking of noxious facilities when the central government has limited prerogatives. The central government decides whether to construct a noxious facility in one of the regions, and how to …nance it. We study this problem under both full and asymmetric information on the damage caused by th...
Article
As the opening contribution to a four-page symposium, this paper provides an overview of the economic transformation in reforming countries of eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, describing reforms, their consequences, and lessons economists might derive from transition. The topics covered are political developments, liberalization, institu...
Article
Mongolia provides a fascinating example of postsocialist reforms for a number of reasons. The speed of privatization is puzzling, given that it occurred in the face of opposition from important elements of the party that controlled the government. The degree of divergence between progress on privatization and on other reforms is greater in Mongolia...
Article
This paper reviews the NBER's "The Transition in Eastern Europe." This book's 18 essays examine privatization, stabilization, fiscal policies, the nascent private sector, bankruptcy, foreign trade, and investment, etc. Individual country performance occupies six studies. These essays, which are of high quality, provide a cross-section of the litera...
Article
A prominent theorist of Soviet and East European economics critiques the vision of political and economic processes implicit in shock therapy, defending an alternative, evolutionary approach. The critique of shock therapy rests on both theoretical reasoning and examination of evidence from recent cases. An intensive study of economic change in Pola...
Article
This paper analyzes institutional and organizational developments in the early stages of postsocialist reforms, focusing on policy decisions on the timing of privatization and on the allocation of resources between different types of sectors. We identify links between these decisions and legacies of communism, limited market resources, distorted in...
Article
At the end of 1989, most economists agreed that the optimal approach to socialist economic reform involved immediate destruction of old institutions and rapid conversion to capitalist arrangements. This approach is called the radical one. The evolutionary approach has always offered an alternative program of reform. The paper discusses the recent b...
Chapter
The most important single fact to be noted in discussing the present role of multinational corporations in Eastern Europe (in which I include the Soviet Union) is the insignificance of the activities of these corporations. Full acceptance of multinational activity has come only very recently in this region, of course. For example, the possibility o...
Article
This introductory essay reviews the place of public-choice theory in the study of the socialist economies of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union and provides an overview of the papers that appear in the present volume.
Article
Full-text available
The role of interest groups in the political process has been the subject of much analysis in both political science and economics. However, few studies have examined directly the factors which influence the variation in interest group formation across industrial sectors and between countries. Using data on 75 industrial sectors in 10 countries, we...
Article
Many variables of interest to comparative economists are difficult to measure or are unavailable for empirical research. To test for the effects of such variables, we offer a methodology based on examining the bias that is introduced when such variables are omitted from a model's estimation. Further, our methodology is able to use data that are ava...
Article
Identifying the most important systemic characteristics that have determined the behavior of Centrally Planned Economies (CPEs), is crucial for the choice of a transition path within the ongoing economic reforms in these countries. The empirical literature on the comparative behavior of CPEs and Market Economies (MEs), often gives little help in ex...
Article
Estimates of the opportunity for catch-up growth reveal that the centrally planned economies performed relatively well in the early postwar period, but that their performance compared to that of the market economies deteriorated over time. The theory of encompassing interests explains why the gains to a dictator from a more productive domain can in...
Article
This paper addresses whether neoclassical economics can provide the intellectual underpinning for a theory of reform. I examine whether the neoclassical model satisfies an essential condition to qualify for this role: does it give us a satisfactory explanation for the vast differences in performance between capitalist and socialist economic systems...
Article
This symposium examines the economic problems facing the reforming countries of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, the interrelationships between these problems, and current knowledge on how to deal with them. The word "reform" is surely a misnomer for what is occurring; "revolution" is more fitting.
Article
This letter specifies and analyzes a model of electoral competition with interest groups. The assumptions used in the model are drawn from the existing literature. We (i) show that certain assumptions that have been used in empirical analyses of voting provide a sufficient condition for the existence of an electoral equilibrium, and (ii) characteri...
Article
This paper comments on the methodology that Estrin and Holmes (Estrin, Saul, and Holmes, Peter, “Indicative Planning in Developed Economies.” J. Comp. Econom.14, 4:000-000, 1990) employ to evaluate indicative planning in developed countries. An evaluation that focuses on results suffers from inevitable informational problems, thus necessitating an...
Article
This paper considers how government size responds to a change in the influence of interest groups. First, an election model is developed that has an equilibrium and in which interest groups have unequal influence. The authors then show that an increase in a group's influence per se does not cause government size to increase, but does cause its size...
Article
Barter transactions, conducted openly by established corporations, play an increasingly significant role in the U.S. economy. The model developed here helps explain why firms use barter. It is shown that when two firms barter goods used as inputs, price discrimination occurs. This price discrimination is hidden from the firms' other customers becau...
Article
Bumb (1982) has claimed that factor analysis estimates are spurious when the number of observations is less than the number of variables. It is shown that the distinction between observation and variables is not one that carries any theoretical force in factor analysis. One can treat variables and observations symmetrically, leading to two economic...
Article
The results of the previous section, estimates of a three equation model from 23 observations, must obviously be regarded as tentative. The consistent positive relationship between number of interest groups and size of government observed with changing sets of included independent variables, changing samples of nations, and treating the number of i...
Article
Previous empirical studies of government have focused primarily on aggregate financial measures of size. This analysis examines a different measure: the share of public employment in total employment. In empirical tests on OECD countries for 1970 and 1980, the level of public employment is shown to be a clear reflection of voter demand for public g...
Article
The applicability in centrally planned economies of bonus functions that are designed to encourage subordinates to report information honestly is evaluated. If central planners seek Pareto-efficient outcomes, a unique bonus function and therefore a unique distribution of managerial incomes results. Hence, income distribution considerations must be...

Citations

... ADRIEN et al. [10] examine risk management theory, draw on the benefits of international risk management, and concentrate on risk management practice. Peter et al. [11] use comparative analysis, questionnaire surveys, literature reviews, and interviews to conduct theoretical and practical studies on selecting a third-party cross-border platform. According to Zhewei et al. [12], the government should create convenient conditions for customs clearance, planning, and oversight and provide preferred policies and procedures that are actively implemented and improved. ...
... In English education, the implementation of an effective evaluation mechanism is conducive to the enrichment and development of educational management and pedagogical theory [17]. Under the ML framework, the effective evaluation of English education is conducive to perfecting the evaluation system of higher education and improving the quality of higher education [18,19]. With ML as the kernel, this paper attempts to develop an evaluation system for ML-based English education, in the hopes of providing an evaluation method for English education in the context of computer science and artificial intelligence. ...
... 3 For stm methodology, seeRoberts, Stewart, and Tingley (2016). An application in Economic History isGrajzl and Murrell (2020). See alsoBlei (2012). ...
... Similarly, multiple articles will contain the same topic in different proportions [50][51][52][53]. In contrast to other types of topic modeling, STM explicitly assesses the effects of metadata on topic prevalence [54][55][56]. The findings illustrate patterns with which topics occur over time and associations between variables and topic prevalence or word usage in a corpus. ...
... For example, in the preface to the sixth volume of his reports, Coke comments 'That if the ancient Laws of this noble Island, had not excelled all others… some of the several Conquerors and Governors thereof…would (as every of them might) have altered or changed [these laws].' This is an example of a general evolutionary mode of argumentation, which was characteristic of the common law at that time (Grajzl and Murrell 2016). ...
... This phenom- enon is described by many authors (see e.g. Hendley and Murrell 2015;Tsyganov et al. 2014;Bilan et al. 2012;or Mikhalev 1996). Very similar trends can be recognised in other transition economies, e.g. in countries of the former Soviet block (see e.g. ...
... As a matter of politeness, or perhaps even fear of negative repercussions, respondents may say they have used the net, even when they have not. One method to reduce social desirability bias is list randomization [10,11]. In a list randomization experiment, participants are divided into "control" and "treatment" groups. ...
... 1 Transition is 'the widely accepted term for the thorough going political and economic changes' in ex-communist countries to establish market-oriented economies (Murrell, 2008). ...
... These regulatory initiatives, however, failed to satisfactorily achieve their goals, and in the early decades of the 17th century novel policies were embraced which sought to devolve administrative powers onto localized corporate bodies operating within a broader network of national regulation. These efforts, too, proved ineffectualthe Company of the Merchants of the Staple held a monopoly over the country's wool trade for just three years (1617-1620), while lofty aspirations to bring the nation's cloth production under local 2 There are, however, dissenters to this perspective who emphasize a more evolutionary view of institutional change;see, for example, Murrell (2017) and Ogilvie and Carus (2014). 3 For a more in-depth overview of the offices of the national government, see Jones (2011:19-26). ...
... There is a wide range of discussion on the measurement of corruption through survey questions and the reliability of these survey questions (see e.g., Reinikka and Svensson (2006), Seligson (2006) and Kraay and Murrell (2016) for a detailed discussion on the measurement issues of corruption). Kraay and Murrell (2016) demonstrate that there are downward biases in survey-based estimates of corruption. ...