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A complexity perspective on institutional design

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  • Scott E. Page

    () (University of Michigan, USA)

Abstract

The task of designing effective economic and political institutions requires substantial foresight. The designer must anticipate not only the behavior of individual actors, but also how that behavior will aggregate. Rising complexity brought about by increases in speeds of adaptation, diversity, connectedness, and interdependence make institutional design all the more challenging. Given the focus on equilibria, the extant literature on mechanism design might appear incapable of coping with this complexity. Yet, I suggest that a deeper engagement with the origins of the mechanism-design framework reveals insights that may help us design robust, adaptive institutions that can harness complexity.

Suggested Citation

  • Scott E. Page, 2012. "A complexity perspective on institutional design," Politics, Philosophy & Economics, , vol. 11(1), pages 5-25, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:pophec:v:11:y:2012:i:1:p:5-25
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    File URL: http://ppe.sagepub.com/content/11/1/5.abstract
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "Varieties of Crises and Their Dates," Introductory Chapters,in: This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly Princeton University Press.
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    3. Giuseppe Grande & Aviram Levy & Fabio Panetta & Andrea Zaghini, 2012. "Public Guarantees on Bank Bonds: Effectiveness and Distortions," OECD Journal: Financial Market Trends, OECD Publishing, vol. 2011(2), pages 47-72.
    4. Bank for International Settlements, 2009. "An assessment of financial sector rescue programmes," BIS Papers, Bank for International Settlements, number 48, february.
    5. Aviram Levy & Sebastian Schich, 2010. "The Design of Government Guarantees for Bank Bonds: Lessons from the Recent Financial Crisis," OECD Journal: Financial Market Trends, OECD Publishing, vol. 2010(1), pages 35-66.
    6. Gerlach, Stefan & Schulz, Alexander & Wolff, Guntram B., 2010. "Banking and Sovereign Risk in the Euro Area," CEPR Discussion Papers 7833, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Stolz, Stéphanie Marie & Wedow, Michael, 2010. "Extraordinary measures in extraordinary times – Public measures in support of the financial sector in the EU and the United States," Occasional Paper Series 117, European Central Bank.
    8. Ashoka Mody, 2009. "From Bear Stearns to Anglo Irish; How Eurozone Sovereign Spreads Related to Financial Sector Vulnerability," IMF Working Papers 09/108, International Monetary Fund.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bednar, Jenna & Jones-Rooy, Andrea & Page, Scott E., 2015. "Choosing a future based on the past: Institutions, behavior, and path dependence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PB), pages 312-332.

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    Keywords

    mechanism design; complexity; robustness; learning;

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