IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Institutions, social norms, and decision-theoretic norms


  • Dequech, David


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Dequech, David, 2009. "Institutions, social norms, and decision-theoretic norms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 70-78, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:72:y:2009:i:1:p:70-78

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Posner, Richard A, 1997. "Social Norms and the Law: An Economic Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 365-369, May.
    2. Arthur, W Brian, 1989. "Competing Technologies, Increasing Returns, and Lock-In by Historical Events," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(394), pages 116-131, March.
    3. Denzau, Arthur T & North, Douglass C, 1994. "Shared Mental Models: Ideologies and Institutions," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 3-31.
    4. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
    5. H. Peyton Young, 1996. "The Economics of Convention," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 105-122, Spring.
    6. 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.
    7. Sen, Amartya, 1985. "Goals, Commitment, and Identity," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(2), pages 341-355, Fall.
    8. Masahiko Aoki, 2001. "Toward a Comparative Institutional Analysis," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262011875, January.
    9. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
    10. A. E. Fernández Jilberto, 1991. "Introduction," International Journal of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(1), pages 3-9, March.
    11. Nee, Victor, 1998. "Norms and Networks in Economic and Organizational Performance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 85-89, May.
    12. David Dequech, 2003. "Conventional and unconventional behavior under uncertainty," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(1), pages 145-168.
    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. Fidrmuc, Jana P. & Jacob, Marcus, 2010. "Culture, agency costs, and dividends," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 321-339, September.
    2. David Dequech, 2006. "Towards An Alternative To The Game-Theoretic Concept Of Conventions," Anais do XXXIV Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 34th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 77, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    3. : Jana P. Fidrmuc & Marcus Jacob, 2010. "Culture, Agency Costs and Dividends," Working Papers wpn10-01, Warwick Business School, Finance Group.
    4. Arestis, Philip & Gonzalez-Martinez, Ana Rosa, 2016. "Revisiting the accelerator principle in a world of uncertainty: Some empirical evidence," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 35-42.
    5. André de Melo Modenesi & Rui Lyrio Modenesi & José Luis Oreiro & Norberto Montani Martins, 2013. "Convention, interest rates and monetary policy: a post-Keynesian–French-conventions-school approach," European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 10(1), pages 76-92.
    6. Marcelo De Carvalho Pereira, 2014. "When Competition May Hinder Technologydiffusion: The Case Of Internet Access Services In Brazil," Anais do XL Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 40th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 152, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    7. David Dequech, 2016. "Some Institutions (Social Norms And Conventions) Of Contemporary Mainstream Economics, Macroeconomics, And Financial Economics," Anais do XLIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 43rd Brazilian Economics Meeting] 006, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    8. William D. Ferguson & Trang Kieu Nguyen, 2014. "Social Context and the Spread of HIV: An Evolutionary Game-Theoretic Investigation on the Impacts of Social Stigma on Epidemic Outcomes," Economies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(3), pages 1-22, August.
    9. Timothy Hinks & Artjoms Ivlevs, 2014. "Communist party membership and bribe paying in transitional economies," Working Papers 20141401, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.
    10. Bilgili, Faik, 2017. "Piyasa ekonomisine geçiş süreci ve sonrasında Türkiye'de GINI katsayılarının analizi: Alternatif GINI formülü yaklaşımı
      [During and after the process of transition to market economy, an analysis of
      ," MPRA Paper 81043, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Craig A. Depken II & Peter A. Groothuis & Mark C. Strazicich, 2016. "The Rise and Fall of the Enforcer in the National Hockey League," Working Papers 16-12, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.


    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:eee:jeborg:v:72:y:2009:i:1:p:70-78. 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: (Dana Niculescu). 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.