What do we mean by institutions? The generality of the word cries out for a definition. I am not going to attempt it. A narrow interpretation would consist of only specific legal bodies or procedural mechanisms. Examples include regulatory agencies (e.g., Securities and Exchange Commissions), standards–setting bodies (e.g., for accounting), and what are sometimes called "commitment devices" (currency boards, guarantees of central bank independence, balanced budget amendments, the Stability and Growth Pact, etc.). A broad definition would include everything about a society that is more detailed than the basic theoretical model in a graduate economics textbook: from the existence of efficiency wages and a six–month gold futures market, to culture. The notion of institutional quality that has become common in the growth literature lies at an intermediate level of generality, and pertains to Property rights and Rule of Law. I am happy to accept that usage. But, before I turn to it, I want to flag the wide variety of issues that could be termed institutional, and to observe that they may not necessarily all be correlated. For example, democracy is on many people?s list. But the commitment devices I named (currency boards, independent CBs, Stability Pact), are distinctive for being institutions that prevent macroeconomic policy from being determined in "too democratic" a manner.