The proposition, as I understand it, is that unimproved institutions constitute obsta-cies to reaching larger goals like reducing poverty and hunger, protecting the environment, or stimulating economic growth and development. Such a proposition signifies that once institutions have been improved and their improvement measured in some way, it will still be necessary to show that improving them has brought about increased effectiveness in achieving the larger goals. That is, improving institutions, in this context, is an instrumental objective, not an impact or outcome goal.