GOVT-508 Informal Economic Institutions
Fall for 2013-2014
Blat’, Guanxi, Wasta and Jeito are forms of informal exchange found in Russia, China, the Arab world and Brazil. They are sometimes criticized as corrupt, but are recognized by many economists as providing crucial “grease” that makes the economic system work.
These informal systems are perceived as unique in each of the cultural settings where they prevail, yet all societies have patterns of informal relationships that help the system to function. The course will explore similarities and differences in these relationships across a range of countries.
Students will read and discuss material on five cases: Russia, China, the Arab world, and Brazil, along with one example from the U.S. In addition, each student will write a case study focusing on informal relationships in a country/culture/subculture of his/her choice.
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