IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

John Commons's organizational theory of institutions: a discussion

Listed author(s):
Registered author(s):

    The paper discusses John R. Commons's original theory of institutions, where the latter are defined as going concerns and their working rules, or collective action restraining and expanding individual action. Such organizational approach of institutions makes important contributions to institutional economics in general, through its notion of a hierarchy of collective action, its threefold typology of transactions, and its holindividualist stance. Commons's genuine advances are counterbalanced by theoretical limits, which illustrate the unfinished character of his attempt to make a contribution to a ‘rounded-out theory of Political economy’, e.g. the ambiguous place of markets in his theory, the state understood as a model for other going concerns and, distinctly, the restricted definition of institutions as organizations. In some important respects, his theory complements or goes further than other currents of institutional economics; its weak points are sometimes the reverse side of his very contributions.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

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

    Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Journal of Institutional Economics.

    Volume (Year): 8 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 01 (March)
    Pages: 27-47

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:cup:jinsec:v:8:y:2012:i:01:p:27-47_00
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Cambridge University Press, UPH, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 8BS UK

    Web page:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:jinsec:v:8:y:2012:i:01:p:27-47_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)

    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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.