US Economics Worksheet


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A3 Video Presentation Topic (2021)
Limited Access Orders
Development economics literature shows that there is a strong link between growth and economic
freedom. In their book “Why Nations Fail” Acemoglu and Robinson argued it was primarily a result of
the development of inclusive democratic institutions that “created incentives, rewarded innovation
and allowed everyone to participate in economic opportunities”. Western leaders’ attempts to help
poor countries grow have not been very successful. North and his colleagues (2014) are sceptical of
efforts to transplant democratic institutions into these countries to achieve greater political and
economic freedom. They propose the concept of limited access orders (LAOs) and open access
orders (OAOs), and develop a framework to better understand and support development of third
world countries.
Task: Choose either Topic 1 or 2:
Topic 1
Select one poor, fragile LAO country which has experienced no or very limited growth in the past
decade(s). Explain why you classify this country as a fragile LAO. Applying North et al’s (2014) LAOs
framework, discuss the reason(s) for its economic stagnation and how this country can achieve more
growth to lift its people out of poverty.
Topic 2
Select one LAO country which has succeeded in evolving from a fragile/basic to a mature LAO
country in the past decade(s). Explain why you classify this country as a mature LAO. Applying North
et al’s (2014) framework of LAOs and OAOs, discuss if your chosen country is ready to undergo
transformative development to become an OAO country. Do you think OAO is a necessary condition
for it to sustain growth?
Submission Guideline
1. Students will work in groups of 4 to produce a video presentation that communicates complex
economic reasoning to a non-specialist audience.
2. Students are responsible to allocate themselves to a group.
3. Length of the video: 8 to 10 minutes
4. In addition to the video, you are required to
include ONE 150 – 200 word executive summary and a bibliography, listing all research
resources used, and
participate in a peer evaluation exercise, which will contribute to your score for A3.
5. In your executive summary you must include a Toulmin model to summarise your argument.
6. Important dates:
• Register Group by: Sept 26 (Sunday) 23:59. After this date, if you are not in a group, you will
be randomly allocated to one.
• Video due date: Oct 31 (Sunday) 23:59.
• Submit peer assessment of group members by Nov 3 (Wednesday) 23:59.
Preliminary Readings
North D. C. (1987) “Institutions, Transaction Costs and Economic Growth” (Economic Enquiry Vol
XXV, 1987, 419-428) URL:
North, Wallis, Webb and Weingast (2014) Limited Access Orders: Rethinking the Problems of
Development and Violence
ALSTON L. A. (2017) “Beyond Institutions: Beliefs and Leadership” (THE JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC
The Library of Economics and Liberty (2012) “Acemoglu on Why Nations Fail” (Econlib – ECON TALK
Mar 19 2012) URL:
The Library of Economics and Liberty (2012) “Weingast on the Violence Trap” (Econlib – ECON TALK
Aug 12 2013) URL:
Collier P. (2008) “The bottom billion” (TED Talk 2008 ) URL:

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