Wilfred Dolfsma: Government Failure: Society, Markets and Rules [Review]

Desmarais-Tremblay, Maxime. 2015. Wilfred Dolfsma: Government Failure: Society, Markets and Rules [Review]. Journal of Economic Issues, 49(4), pp. 1140-1142. ISSN 0021-3624 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Competition, innovation, and social welfare have long been central themes of institutional economics. In his recent book, Wilfred Dolfsma convincingly argues that governments — in their rule-setting capacities — often fail to promote these goals. The book is divided into eleven short chapters, averaging twelve pages each. Of the nine central chapters, seven had already been published in the last ten years as standalone papers, including five in the Journal of Economic Issues. Most of them are the fruits of collaboration with other scholars. In fact, two of the theoretical chapters were already part of Dolfsma’s previous book, Institutions, Communication and Values (published by Palgrave in 2009). An institutional and social economics approach is common to all the chapters, but the short introduction and conclusion do not provide the synthesis that the reader would hope for in a book based on a diverse collection of papers. The book is well-written with ample references to recent literature in the field (the author is also an editor of the Review for Social Economics). However, at times, the writing is dense. Occasionally, very interesting ideas are suggested within a chapter only to be cut short before full discussion is developed.

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book review

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute of Management Studies


9 December 2015Published Online

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Date Deposited:

30 Jul 2018 11:22

Last Modified:

30 Jul 2018 11:22



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