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The collapse of cooperation: the endogeneity of institutional break-up and its asymmetry with emergence

Author

Listed:
  • Christian Cordes

    (University of Bremen)

  • Wolfram Elsner

    (University of Bremen)

  • Claudius Graebner

    (Johannes Kepler University
    University of Duisburg)

  • Torsten Heinrich

    (University of Oxford)

  • Joshua Henkel

    (University of Bremen)

  • Henning Schwardt

    (University of Denver)

  • Georg Schwesinger

    (University of Bremen)

  • Tong-Yaa Su

    (University of Bremen)

Abstract

Decline and break-up of institutionalized cooperation, at all levels, has occurred frequently. Some of its concomitants, such as international migration, have become topical in the globalized world. Aspects of the phenomenon have also become known as failing states. However, the focus in most social sciences has been on institutional emergence and persistence, not collapse. We develop an endogenous explanation of collapsing institutions. Collapse may be an implication of the very economic success of institutionalized cooperation and of increasing system complexity, when cognitive conditions for effective collective decision-making do not proportionately evolve. Moreover, we show that collapse is not a simple logical reverse of emergence. Rather, institutions break up at different factor constellations than the ones prevailing at emergence. We approach endogenous institutional break-up and its asymmetry from various paradigmatic and disciplinary perspectives, employing psychology, anthropology, network analysis, and institutional economics. These perspectives cover individuals, groups, interaction-arenas, populations, and social networks.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Cordes & Wolfram Elsner & Claudius Graebner & Torsten Heinrich & Joshua Henkel & Henning Schwardt & Georg Schwesinger & Tong-Yaa Su, 2021. "The collapse of cooperation: the endogeneity of institutional break-up and its asymmetry with emergence," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 31(4), pages 1291-1315, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:31:y:2021:i:4:d:10.1007_s00191-021-00739-2
    DOI: 10.1007/s00191-021-00739-2
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Anthropology; Cognitive capacities; Cooperation; Economic decline; Game theory; Institutional emergence; Network analysis; Social institutions;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary; Modern Monetary Theory;
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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