Alternative Orders: Developing and Deploying Cutting-edge Methods to Analyze the Evolution of Customary Governance in a Modern World
TWCF Number
Project Duration
December 15 / 2022
- December 14 / 2024
Core Funding Area
Individual Freedom and Free Markets
North America
Amount Awarded

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Jennifer Murtazashvili
Institution University of Pittsburgh

The past two decades have seen an explosion in the interest in informal governance institutions, poverty alleviation, and development. Much of this work, primarily in economics, contradicts conventional wisdom by showing positive roles self-governing and other informal institutions have for economic and social development. The world is seeing a massive crisis of governance. Public entrepreneurs are developing new tools as well as resurrecting old ones to help fill gaps. 

Despite predictions of the demise of customary authority, we are witnessing a surprising resurrection and revitalization of it around the world alongside alternative governance phenomena such as blockchain, smart cities, and other entrepreneurial ventures. A research project led by Jennifer Murtazashvili at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Governance and Markets will rely on deep empirical field research along with existing statistical data to explore why this is the case. The project aims to train and provide small grant support to a new generation of scholars on how to use qualitative methods to study customary and informal governance.

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