Journal of Comparative Economics

The mission of the Journal of Comparative Economics is to lead the new orientations of research in comparative economics. Before 1989, the core of comparative economics was the comparison of economic systems, in particular the economic analysis of socialism in its different forms. In the fifteen years since the collapse of Comminsm, the main focus of interest of comparative economists was the transition from socialism to capitalism. In recent years, mostly as a result of the transition experience, a new orientation of comparative economics has emerged that focuses on the comparison of the economic effects of the various institutions of capitalism, be it in the legal sphere (common law versus civil law), in the political sphere (different types of democracies and electoral regimes) or in the sphere of culture, social norms, etc. This new orientation is a natural development following the very diverse experience of transitions from socialism to capitalism. The transition experience has indeed shown with a vengeance the importance of institutions in the process of economic development.

Questions raised along these new orientations include: what institutions are critical (courts, credit markets, good regulations, etc.) for successful growth?; how should institutions be measured (subjective surveys, particular laws on the books, etc.); why are certain institutions, such as courts and regulatory culture, slow-moving while others, such as constitutions and electoral procedures, relatively fast-moving; why is there so much cross-sectional variance in the quality of institutions, and what kinds of initial conditions or historic natural experiments can be employed to estimate the causal impact of institutions on economic performance? The Journal of Comparative Economics will maintain its tradition of publishing the best papers on the Chinese economy and of being an important outlet for work on economies in Central Europe and the Former Soviet Union; the Journal of Comparative Economics aims to enlarge its interest to emerging market economies as well.


Ruben Enikolopov is an ICREA Research Professor at UPF, researcher at Barcelona Institute of Political Economy and Governance, and Associate Professor of economics at the New Economic School, Moscow. His research interests include political economy, economics of mass media, and development economics.

Timur Kuran is Professor of Economics and Political Science, and Gorter Family Professor of Islamic Studies at Duke University. His research focuses on (1) economic, political, and social change, with emphases on institutions and preferences, and (2) the economic and political history of the Middle East, with a focus on the role of Islam. He currently directs the Association for Analytic Learning about Islam and Muslim Societies (AALIMS); edits a book series for Cambridge University Press, Economics, Choice and Society; co-edits the Journal of Comparative Economics, and serves on numerous editorial boards.

Hongbin Li is C.V. Starr Professor of Economics in the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University. He obtained his PhD in economics in 2001 from Stanford University. His research is focused on two areas: the incentives, behaviors and performance of governments, banks and enterprises in the context of economic transition, and education, health, demographic and labor issues in economic development. His research mostly draws on data from China, and he has several major projects that involve collecting large scale first-hand datasets.