ECON4921 – Institutions and Economic Systems

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

This course will not be given autumn 2021 due to unforeseen circumstances


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

Students not admitted to the Master’s programme in Economics or the Master’s programme in Economic Theory and Econometrics (Samfunnsøkonomisk analyse), can apply for admission to one of our study programmes, or apply for guest student status.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

You must fulfill one of these prerequisites:

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.


As of the autumn of 2021, the assessment for this course has changed permanently.

Assessment is based on a portfolio examination, consisting of:
•    Submission of a first draft (passed / failed) 
•    Oral presentation of the project in seminar (passed / failed) 
•    Final submission of the assignment (gives final grade for the course)

Previous exams

Exam papers with comments from examiner

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



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