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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.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 72 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (October)
Pages: 70-78

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:72:y:2009:i:1:p:70-78
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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  1. H. Peyton Young, 1996. "The Economics of Convention," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 105-122, Spring.
  2. Masahiko Aoki, 2001. "Toward a Comparative Institutional Analysis," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262011875, June.
  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. Posner, Richard A, 1997. "Social Norms and the Law: An Economic Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 365-69, May.
  6. David Dequech, 2003. "Conventional and unconventional behavior under uncertainty," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 26(1), pages 145-168, October.
  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-, December.
  8. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
  9. A. E. Fernández Jilberto, 1991. "Introduction," International Journal of Political Economy, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 21(1), pages 3-9, April.
  10. Arthur, W Brian, 1989. "Competing Technologies, Increasing Returns, and Lock-In by Historical Events," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(394), pages 116-31, 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. Sen, Amartya, 1985. "Goals, Commitment, and Identity," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(2), pages 341-55, Fall.
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