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Institutions and Institutional Evolution

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Apesteguia, José J.
Conference: Crossing Boundaries, the Seventh Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Conf. Date: June 10-14
Date: 1998
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/413
Sector: Theory
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
institutional analysis--IAD framework
economic theory
Abstract: "There is a long and broad tradition in the institutional analysis. Scholars along all social sciences have devoted their research to the study of institutions. This interdisciplinarity provides an extremely rich quantitative and qualitative development in the topic. Nevertheless, the dominant contemporary economic theory ignores the institutional tradition. Institutions are relegated, if at all, to footnotes and are considered as a fixed, well- defined box. Within this box the neoclassical conceptualization develops a stylized model of individual behavior. However, as every student of institutions knows, this box has multiple forms that derive in multiple types of influences over the individual behavior. Moreover, the box changes and generates changes in its contents. "The present paper is focussed on the study of this box; it will be analyzed and defined. By so doing, it will be shown why the institutional analysis provides an ideal framework to deal with a critical review of the neoclassical model. Once the analyst takes the effort of looking at the institutional structure and its evolutionary processes, some of the assumptions made in the neoclassical model and widely accepted appear incoherent. "The organization of the paper is as follows. In section II the meaning of institutions will be explored. It will be argued about the necessity of delimiting the boundaries of institutions and a proposal will be developed. It will also be pursued in this section the problem of the institutional representation. The concept of evolution and its suitability for the study of institutional change will be analyzed in section III. Section IV deals with concluding remarks."

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