Public policies are the outcomes of complex intertemporal exchanges among politicians. The political institutions of a country constitute the framework within which these transactions are accomplished. We develop a transactions theory to understand the ways in which political institutions affect the transactions that political actors are able to undertake, and hence the quality of the policies that emerge.
We argue that Argentina is a case in which the functioning of political institutions has inhibited the capacity to undertake efficient intertemporal political exchanges. We use positive political theory and transaction cost economics to explain the workings of Argentine political institutions and to show how their operation gives rise to low–quality policies.