Institutions, social norms, and decision-theoretic norms
This article attempts to contribute to the debate on how to define and theorize institutions, particularly regarding normativity and explanations for conformity. Firstly, it proposes some distinctions and concepts: it separates moral from epistemic values, leading to different types of legitimacy and social norms; then it distinguishes different meanings of the term 'normative' and introduces the concept of decision-theoretic norm. Secondly, the article defends a broad concept of institutions by arguing that some institutions are neither social norms nor decision-theoretic ones, a point that matters for institutional change and stability. Some conventions from which innovators break are highlighted as an example.
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