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ECON4921 - Institutions and Economic Systems

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

  • Autumn 2007
  • Autumn 2005

Course content

The lectures are built around the questions: How do different institutions and organizations work? Why do particular institutions come into existence? How may certain institutions complement each other? How are economic systems affected by competitive forces?


  • Institutions and Economic Performance
  • Organization of the Firm
  • Organized Interest and Ownership
  • Complementarity of Institutions
  • Institutions and Commitment
  • Bureaucracy
  • Fiscal Federalism
  • System Competition

Learning outcome


You should know

  • how various institutional arrangements work, with an emphasis on economic and political institutions
  • recent empirical work that aims at evaluating and quantifying the mechanisms of the models we study


You should be able to

  • use economic models to explain how various institutional arrangements work and be able to discuss the assumptions, relevance, and limitations of these models
  • discuss recent empirical contributions critically


You should

  • be able to read and understand project reports and journal articles that make use of the concepts and methods that are introduced in the course
  • be able to make use of the course content in your own academic work, for example in analyses that are part of the master’s thesis


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in StudentWeb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

International applicants, if you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures for international applicants.

The subject is open for both Norwegian and international students.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Bachelor's degree in Economics, or equivalent.

Overlapping courses

  • 10 credits overlap with ECON4920 Economic Systems
  • 10 credits overlap with ECON485 Economic Systems
  • 10 credits overlap with SØK485 Økonomiske systemer, 3. avd. samfunnsøkonomi
  • 10 credits overlap with SOØ485 Økonomiske systemer, 3. avd. sosialøkonomi


Lectures: 2 hours per week throughout the semester.

Seminars: 2 hours per week through parts of the semester.

Students are stimulated to form informal reading groups. In the seminars the students are trained in oral and written presentations. The seminars are integrated with the lectures and the students will take part, individually and on a group basis, also in the lectures.

The students will throughout the term receive written and oral feedback.


A 3-hour written exam.

Previous exams

Examination support material

Students may use dictionaries at this exam. Dictionaries must be handed in before the examination. Please read regulations for dictionaries permitted at the examination.

Language of examination

The problem set will be given in English. Answers can be given in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or in English. See § 5.4 in Regulations governing studies and examinations at the University of Oslo.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

It is recommended to request an explanation of your grade before you decide to appeal.



The deadline to request an explanation is one week after the grade is published. For oral and practical examinations, the deadline is immediately after you have received your grade.

The explanation should normally be given within two weeks after you have asked for it. The examiner decides whether the explanation is to be given in writing or verbally.

Ask for an explanation about the grade in this course.

Resit an examination

The Department of Economics has passed following resolution for ECON-courses: It will no longer be possible for candidates to register for an exam in a lower level course after having passed exams in intermediate and advanced level courses in the same subject area (also where there are no pre-requisites that apply to the intermediate course). Further information can be found here.

Students who might wish to retake the exam later, are not guaranteed that the course is ever repeated with a similar reading list, nor that the exam arrangement will be the same.

Withdrawal from an examination

If you wish to withdraw from the exam you must do so in StudentWeb at least two weeks prior to the deadline. Failure to do so will be counted as one of the three opportunities to sit the exam.

Special examination arrangements

If you have a disability or a health problem that entails significant inconvenience in an examination situation, you may be considered for special examination arrangements. Mothers who are breastfeeding may apply for extra time to complete the exam.


Feedback from our students is essential to us in our efforts to ensure and further improve the high quality of our programmes and courses. All courses are subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students on a particular course to participate in a more comprehensive, periodic evaluation of this course.

A periodic evaluation of ECON4921 - Institutions and Economic Systems was conducted during autum term 2009. A Norwegian version of the evaluation report that was compiled on the basis of the information retrieved from the evaluation, can be found here

Facts about this course






Autumn 2015


Autumn 2015

Teaching language