IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The impact of institutions on the decision how to decide




The human mind is not a general problem solving machine. Instead of deliberately, consciously and serially processing the available information, men can rely on routines, rules, roles or affect for the purpose. They can bring in technology, experts or groups. For all of these reasons, men have a plurality of problem solving modes at their disposition. Often, the meta-choice of problem solving mode matters for behavioural output. Some performance standards are only to be met if a certain problem solving mode is used, like a well-established skill. Other requirements are easier to fulfil with some problem solving modes. This explains why institutions frequently impact on the choice of problem solving mode. To show how institutions are able to do that, a model of problem solving modes is developed. It allows to systematise the access points for institutional intervention.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Engel, Christoph & Weber, Elke U., 2007. "The impact of institutions on the decision how to decide," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(03), pages 323-349, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jinsec:v:3:y:2007:i:03:p:323-349_00

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to article abstract page
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rutherford,Malcolm, 1996. "Institutions in Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521574471, March.
    2. Christine Jolls & Cass R. Sunstein, 2006. "Debiasing through Law," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 199-242, January.
    3. Nooteboom, B. & Bogenrieder, I.M., 2003. "Change Of Routines: A Multi-Level Analysis," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2003-029-ORG, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    4. Christoph Engel, 2004. "Social Dilemmas, Revisited from a Heuristics Perspective," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2004_4, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    5. G. Hodgson., 2007. "What Are Institutions?," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 8.
    6. Smith, Vernon L, 1991. "Rational Choice: The Contrast between Economics and Psychology," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 877-897, August.
    7. Paul DiMaggio, 1998. "The New Institutionalisms: Avenues of Collaboration," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 154(4), pages 696-696, December.
    8. Ashton, Robert H., 1992. "Effects of justification and a mechanical aid on judgment performance," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 292-306, July.
    9. Hodgson, Geoffrey M., 2004. "Reclaiming habit for institutional economics," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 651-660, October.
    10. repec:mes:jeciss:v:40:y:2006:i:1:p:1-25 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Smith, Vernon L, 1989. "Theory, Experiment and Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 151-169, Winter.
    12. Joseph Henrich & Robert Boyd & Samuel Bowles & Colin Camerer & Ernst Fehr & Herbert Gintis & Richard McElreath & Michael Alvard & Abigail Barr & Jean Ensminger & Kim Hill & Francisco Gil-White & Micha, 2001. "Economic Man in Cross-Cultural Perspective: Behavioral Experiments in Fifteen Small-Scale Societies," Working Papers 01-11-063, Santa Fe Institute.
    13. Hall, Peter A. & Taylor, Rosemary C. R., 1996. "Political science and the three new institutionalisms," MPIfG Discussion Paper 96/6, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    14. Vernon L. Smith, 1994. "Economics in the Laboratory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 113-131, Winter.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Christoph Engel & Wolf Singer, 2007. "Better Than Conscious? The Brain, the Psyche, Behavior, and Institutions," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2007_24, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    2. Christoph Engel, 2007. "Institutions for Intuitive Man," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2007_12, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    3. Weber, Elke U. & Johnson, Eric J., 2012. "Psychology and behavioral economics lessons for the design of a green growth strategy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6240, The World Bank.
    4. Mieke Meurs, 2013. "What Makes a Farmer? The Limited Expansion of Commercial Farming Among Bulgarian Smallholders," Working Papers 2013-08, American University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • K20 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - General
    • K40 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - General
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:jinsec:v:3:y:2007:i:03:p:323-349_00. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Keith Waters). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.