ECON4921 – Institutions and Economic Systems

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

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.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Apply for guest student status if you are admitted to another Master's programme, or have completed a master in Economics at UiO or another Norwegian University.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

  • Bachelor's degree in Economics, or equivalent.

Recommended previous knowledge

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 and seminars.

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

Digital examination

The written examination is conducted in the digital examination system Inspera. You will need to familiarize yourself with the digital examination arrangements in Inspera.

Read more about written examinations using Inspera.

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 examination text is given in English.You may submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

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

If you are sick or have another valid reason for not attending the regular exam, we offer a postponed exam later in the same semester.

See also our information about resitting an exam.

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every other autumn starting 2015


Every other autumn starting 2015

Teaching language