Working Paper No. 155

The Formation of Incentive Mechanisms in Different Economic Systems

When studying incentives in different economic systems, traditional comparative economics focuses on comparing incentives within markets to incentives within hierarchies. Advantages of the former are treated as advantages of private enterprise, and advantages of the latter as advantages of socialist planning or government control. This approach has two weaknesses which prevents it from reaching any conc1usive results. First, no universally valid answer can be given to the question of which of the two types of incentives lead to a socially more efficient behavior. Second, the markets vs. hierarchies issue are not directly relevant to the comparison of real economic systems, for most of them contain mixtures of both types of organization and incentives.

The present paper proposes an organizationally dynamic approach which is free of these weaknesses. This approach shifts the focus from the way in which given types of organization function to the processes through which organizations form and reform. Different economic systems are then evaluated according to their capacity to channel such processes towards the formation of efficient organizational structures with efficient mixtures of incentives. The main conc1usion of the paper then is that a certain type of private enterprise is superior to government control and all forms of socialism in terms of such a capacity.

Sick of Inequality?

An Introduction to the Relationship between Inequality and Health

Sick of Inequality.jpg

In this book Andreas Bergh, Therese Nilsson, IFN and Lund University, and Daniel Waldenström, IFN and Paris School of Economics, France, review the latest research on the relationship between inequality and health. What does inequality mean for our health? Does increasing income inequality affect outcomes such as obesity, life expectancy and subjective well-being?


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To present ongoing research informal brown-bag seminars are held on Mondays at 11:30 am. This is an opportunity for IFN researchers to test ideas and results.

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