Neoclassical economic theory has relatively little to say about the problem of economic organization, how the economic activity of individuals is structured and governed by a complex network of social institutions that includes the law of property and liability, informal codes of morality and fair dealing, and formal organizations. This course attempts to address this imbalance by examining the origins and historical development of two of the most important of these institutions, firms and states. Why do firms and states exist? What functions do they perform in economic systems? How do they arise, and how do they change over time? In considering these questions, students will be introduced to several contemporary alternatives to neoclassical analysis, including the institutional, Austrian, public-choice, and constitutional approaches to the problem of economic organization. All of these traditions have both a rich history and an active research community, and readings will include both classic texts and modern scholarship in each of them.