TWO TYPES OF EXPERIMENTATION: Where do Institutional Bypasses Fit?


  • Kevin E. Davis Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro - UFRJ


Institutional Bypasses, Law, institutional design


Experimentation is in vogue in discussions of institutional design, but the concept contains an important ambiguity. That ambiguity is highlighted by Mariana Prado and Michael Trebilcock’s work on institutional bypasses. Prado and Trebilcock define an institutional bypass as a type of institutional reform that involves creating a separate institution which operates in parallel with and performs the same function as the original institution. They promote bypasses as ways of opening up room for experimentation. At the same time they distinguish institutional bypasses from randomized controlled trials, one of the best-known types of experimentation. In drawing this distinction Prado and Trebilcock highlight the fact that literature on experimentation in institutional design covers at least two different conceptions of experimentation. In some literature experimentation is exemplified by randomized controlled trials, in others it is exemplified by the more open-ended processes associated with experimentalist governance. This short essay elaborates on the distinctions between the two types of experimentation, argues that institutional bypasses are likely to fit best with the second type, and emphasizes that the two types of experimentation have different advantages and disadvantages as modes of learning and reform.


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Biografia do Autor

Kevin E. Davis, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro - UFRJ

Kevin Davis teaches courses on contracts, commercial law, regulation of foreign corrupt practices, and law and development. His current research is focused on contract law, anti-corruption law, and the general relationship between law and economic development. Davis received his BA in economics from McGill University in 1990. After graduating with an LLB from the University of Toronto in 1993, he served as law clerk to Justice John Sopinka of the Supreme Court of Canada and later as an associate in the Toronto office of Torys, a Canadian law firm. After receiving an LLM from Columbia University in 1996, he was appointed an assistant professor at the University of Toronto and in 2001 was promoted to associate professor. 


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Como Citar

Davis, K. E. (2020). TWO TYPES OF EXPERIMENTATION: Where do Institutional Bypasses Fit?. REI - REVISTA ESTUDOS INSTITUCIONAIS, 6(2), 707–713. Recuperado de



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