Political institutions have been around since nearly all human societies were organized tribally. Over time they have developed into various organizational features and eventually taken the shape they do today. They have proven to be fundamental in virtually all societies worldwide and by being so omnipresent we often take these institutions for granted and do not realize how vital they are for our society. Moreover, because they are so important and play such a big part in our society, there is a major purpose to compare them between time and place. Therefore, this paper will first elaborate on explanations for political institutions and through that process come up with a working definition. Furthermore, it will explain why political
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In other words, returning back to North’s argument, one can hardly know which political institutions that are “correct” in bringing benefits to everyone by merely observing just one institution. Therefore, a vital reason to compare is to look for useful ideas and to see which political institutions might be good and bad at achieving specific political goals and see if these various institutions can survive in different political settings (Przeworski, 2004; Nikandrov, 1989). In addition, by seeing similarity in difference and difference in similarity and linking ideas and theory to evidence we can gain greater insight and be more aware of alternatives (Friedman, 2011). However, some scholars point to the dangers of comparison (see Faure, 1994; Radhakrishnan, 2009) and it is important to acknowledge those risks. Nevertheless, as Friedman (2011) explains: “For all the problems and dangers of comparison, in the end it is worse not to compare than to compare” (p. 756).
To summarize, first of all political institutions are sets of formal and informal rules that have since the early ages of man stabilized and shaped interactions and outcomes by establishing roles and affecting power relations. Secondly, political institutions are important because they structure individuals and groups to overcome self-interest and rather cooperate for mutual gain. Furthermore, they