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Deliberation, Learning, and Institutional Change: The Use of Judicial Forums in Institutionally Diverse Settings

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Blomquist, William; Ostrom, Elinor
Date: 2007
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/3743
Sector: Social Organization
Subject(s): Workshop
Abstract: "Most of modern human life is spent within the structure of diverse institutional arrangements. We learn the 'proper' rules of interactions with family members and friends as we are raised. Schools not only teach us history, mathematics, and grammar, they also provide instructions about many of the existing institutional structures that affect our lives. What must we do to complete a school year? What must we do if we are to graduate from high school? What must we do to get a drivers license? What must we do to gain admission to college? Learning the 'rules of the game' is a major pre-occupation of all humans especially in their youth. "Rules are, however, human inventions. Consequently, humans not only learn how to act within a set of established rules, but they also are engaged from time to time in changing rules within a nested set of other institutions that structure the process of changing rules at any particular level. Changing rules is, however, far more challenging than simply trying to do as well as one can within an established set of rules. Whenever one is engaged in thinking about changing rules, one has to begin to look farther into the future than daily life and imagine the likely strategies that relevant others and one's self will adopt to one set of possible rules versus other potential sets. In his analysis of The Moral Judgment of the Child, Piaget (1932) studied the stages of learning involved as children learned to play self-organized games of marbles on a school yard. Piaget analyzed the cumulative difficulty involved in learning to play this game. The most difficult task was learning how to propose rules that would improve one's chances of doing better. Changing rules 'even for the childhood game of marbles' was seem by Piaget as involving the highest level of intelligence as compared to the substantial physical and strategic skills acquired in playing the game within a set of established rules."

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