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Interests versus culture in the theory of institutional change?

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  • Zweynert, Joachim
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    Abstract

    This paper suggests an analytical framework to bring two explanations of institutional change together. My analysis rests on three building blocks: Firstly on the idea of the transfer or transplantation of institutions, secondly on the idea of functional differentiation, and thirdly and decisively on an understanding of culture as a toolkit leaving room for interest, choice and strategic action. The concepts of institutional transplantation and of functional differentiation will be introduced in the following section. In the third one, I will reformulate North's neoclassical theory of the state and his elaborations on culture and belief systems in terms of these concepts. Section four, then, offers a proposal of how to bridge the gap between the two approaches. Throughout the paper, I will use the example of Russia to illustrate my theoretical thoughts, a country I have been studying for years and which, as North (1999,9) remarks, is particularly suited to explain the problems of economic change. In section five I will outline in very basic terms how the history of failed attempts at reforms in Russia might be interpreted from the perspective developed here. --

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI) in its series HWWI Research Papers with number 5-3.

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    Date of creation: 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:hwwirp:5-3

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    1. Olson, Mancur, 1963. "Rapid Growth as a Destabilizing Force," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(04), pages 529-552, December.
    2. Morgan, Glenn & Whitley, Richard & Moen, Eli (ed.), 2006. "Changing Capitalisms?: Internationalization, Institutional Change, and Systems of Economic Organization," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199205288, October.
    3. Zouboulakis, Michel, 2005. "On the evolutionary character of North's idea of institutional change," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(02), pages 139-153, December.
    4. Searle, John R., 2005. "What is an institution?," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 1-22, June.
    5. Tilman Slembeck, 1997. "The Formation of Economic Policy: A Cognitive-Evolutionary Approach to Policy-Making," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 225-254, August.
    6. Wohlgemuth, Michael, 2002. "Evolutionary Approaches to Politics," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 223-46.
    7. Polterovich, Victor, 2001. "Трансплантация Экономических Институтов
      [Transplantation of Economic Institutions]
      ," MPRA Paper 22034, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Denzau, Arthur T & North, Douglass C, 1994. "Shared Mental Models: Ideologies and Institutions," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 3-31.
    9. Douglass C. North, 2005. "Introduction to Understanding the Process of Economic Change
      [Understanding the Process of Economic Change]
      ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
    10. Nils Goldschmidt & Bernd Remmele, 2005. "Anthropology as the basic science of economic theory: towards a cultural theory of economics," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 455-469.
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