Policy Sciences

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 289–303 | Cite as

Policy and regulatory design for developing countries: a mechanism design and transaction cost approach

  • Eduardo Araral


The first-generation literature on policy design has made considerable contributions over the last 30 years to our understanding of the process, politics and implications of policy design and instrument choice. This literature, however, has generally treated institutions as a black box and has not developed a coherent set of frameworks, theories and models of how institutions matter to policy design. In this paper, I unpack the black box of institutions using transaction cost and mechanism design to show how regulations can be better designed in developing countries when institutions are weak, unaccountable, corrupted or not credible. Under these conditions, I show that efficient regulatory design has to minimize transaction costs, particularly agency problems, by having incentive compatible (self-enforcing) mechanisms. I conclude with a second-generation research agenda on regulatory design with implications for environmental, food and drug safety, healthcare and financial regulation in developing countries.


Transaction cost Mechanism design Infrastructure Institutions Policy/regulatory design Developing countries 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lee Kuan Yew School of Public PolicyNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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