Toward a Comparative Institutional Analysis

  • Masahiko Aoki


The northern California town of Mendocino, which was the shooting background for the film “East of Eden” starring James Dean, retains some of the air of its late nineteenth century role as a harbor to ship out lumber cut from the mountainsides. Ex-hippies-turned-farmers and artists live in the surrounding area. In the latter half of the 1990s, we rented a house facing the Pacific Ocean from an artist every summer. My wife and daughters went back and forth to Stanford for their activities, but I burrowed myself there for the summer with our dog Robin, brought back with us from Japan, and focused on writing my survey on comparative institutional analysis: Toward a Comparative Institutional Analysis (MIT Press, 2001). Mornings and evenings I took Robin for a walk on the cape where there was a greater than 180 ° view. In the morning, the horizon was veiled in fog, while in the evening the ocean was tinted red by the setting sun. It was the perfect place for rethinking problems and reorganizing chapters. Robin was a small mixed breed with some Shikoku-ken, but she was stubborn and at times got into fights with a large Coast Guard officer’s watch dog. My family enjoyed meals made from the organic produce we bought at the farmers’ market (so many varieties of tomatoes); we also went to the harbor to buy albacore tuna and fresh sea urchin still in its thorny shell.

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masahiko Aoki
    • 1
  1. 1.Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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