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Institutions, organizations, impersonality, and interests: The dynamics of institutions


  • Wallis, John Joseph


Institutional economists concerned with rules often focus on the trade-off between individuals and social incentives. This paper argues that the real trade-off that individuals face is between the organizations they belong to in contrast to social rules, and asks when do individuals find it in their interests to act in the interests of their organizations and when do they support impersonal rules? The answer involves a distinction between anonymous relationships between individuals who do not know each other personally, but know the organizations that the other belongs to, and impersonal relationships in which all individuals are treated the same.

Suggested Citation

  • Wallis, John Joseph, 2011. "Institutions, organizations, impersonality, and interests: The dynamics of institutions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 48-64.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:79:y:2011:i:1:p:48-64
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2011.02.002

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    Cited by:

    1. Lee J. Alston & Marcus André Melo & Bernardo Mueller & Carlos Pereira, 2016. "A Conceptual Framework for Understanding Critical Transitions," NBER Working Papers 22144, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Eric Hilt, 2016. "Corporation Law and the Shift toward Open Access in the Antebellum United States," NBER Chapters,in: Organizations, Civil Society, and the Roots of Development, pages 147-177 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Gwendoline Promsopha & Antoine Vion, 2017. "Thailand's 'limited order trap' : a critical application of North, Wallis and Weingast," Post-Print hal-01612052, HAL.
    4. Benito Arruñada, 2012. "Property as an economic concept: reconciling legal and economic conceptions of property rights in a Coasean framework," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 59(2), pages 121-144, July.
    5. Brousseau, Eric & Garrouste, Pierre & Raynaud, Emmanuel, 2011. "Institutional changes: Alternative theories and consequences for institutional design," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 79(1-2), pages 3-19, June.
    6. John Wallis, 2015. "Rules, Organizations, and Governments," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 43(1), pages 69-86, March.
    7. Kushnarenko T.V. & Chernova O.A. & Matveeva L.G., 2016. "The phenomenon of multiculturalism in the regional strategizing," Экономика региона, CyberLeninka;Федеральное государственное бюджетное учреждение науки «Институт экономики Уральского отделения Российской академии наук», vol. 12(3), pages 755-764.
    8. Bénédicte Coestier, 2015. "Jordan and the Middle-Income Growth Trap: Arab Springs and Institutional Changes," EconomiX Working Papers 2015-8, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    9. Joachim Zweynert, 2015. "The concept of Ordnungspolitik through the lens of the theory of limited and open access orders," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 4-18, March.
    10. Benito Arruñada, 2009. "The law of impersonal transactions," Economics Working Papers 1187, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Sep 2010.
    11. Howard Bodenhorn, 2017. "Opening Access: Banks and Politics in New York from the Revolution to the Civil War," NBER Working Papers 23560, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. John Wallis, 2011. "Politics, Economics, and Violence: the Organization of Societies and Third-Party Enforcement," Working Papers 634, Economic Research Forum, revised 09 Jan 2011.
    13. Ann Davis, 2012. "Panglossian Economics," Challenge, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 55(6), pages 67-87.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations
    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights


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