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CEPAL Review

Cepal Review is the leading journal for the study of economic and social development issues in Latin America and the Caribbean. Edited by the Economic Commission for Latin America, each issue focuses on economic trends, industrialization, income distribution, technological development and monetary systems, as well as the implementation of economic reform and transfer of technology. Written in English and Spanish (Revista de la Cepal), each tri-annual issue offers approximately 12 studies and essays undertaken by authoritative experts or gathered from conference proceedings.

English Spanish

The role of institutions in local contexts

This article looks at some methodological issues that confront development research when local institutions are studied. It considers ways of formulating working concepts that are useful for obtaining information on institutions and their dynamic processes in relation to the economic activities of rural households. It presents and evaluates some quantitative and qualitative methods on the basis of case studies in Mexico and India, and considers the scope and limitations of these. The conclusion is that a flexible, multidisciplinary conceptual and methodological framework is needed to understand the dynamics of institutional processes, from established rules and norms to people’s organizing practices. It is stressed that policy-oriented research has to focus on specific objectives, such as institutional arrangements capable of supporting the poorest groups, and ways in which these groups can mobilize to transform institutions.

English Spanish

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