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Institutions, Naturalism and Evolution

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  • Elias Khalil

Abstract

The paper recasts old and new institutionalist economics (OIE and NIE) in light of naturalism. While OIE views institutions as 'paradigms' which define the nature of the actor, NIE views institutions as 'conventions' which act as insubstantial traits, i.e. products of optimization subject to constraint. While the two conceptions are different, they are not alternatives: each one is a special theory limited to one kind of institution. In addition, the paper critically assesses the limits of OIE with regard to the theory of evolution of paradigms. The paper advances a developmentalist perspective of institutions which parallels non-Darwinian biological theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Elias Khalil, 1999. "Institutions, Naturalism and Evolution," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(1), pages 61-81.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:revpoe:v:11:y:1999:i:1:p:61-81
    DOI: 10.1080/095382599107174
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Malcolm Rutherford, 2001. "Institutional Economics: Then and Now," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 173-194, Summer.
    2. Khalil, Elias L., 1995. "The socioculturalist agenda in economics: Critical remarks of Thorstein Veblen's legacy," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 545-569.
    3. Rutherford,Malcolm, 1996. "Institutions in Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521574471, March.
    4. Geoffrey M. Hodgson, 1998. "The Approach of Institutional Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 166-192, March.
    5. Warren J. Samuels, 1991. "“Truth” and “Discourse” in the Social Construction of Economic Reality: An Essay on the Relation of Knowledge to Socioeconomic Policy," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(4), pages 511-524, July.
    6. Boettke, Peter & Fink, Alexander, 2011. "Institutions first," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(04), pages 499-504, December.
    7. Hodgson, Geoffrey M, 1992. "Thorstein Veblen and Post-Darwinian Economics," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(3), pages 285-301, September.
    8. Field, Alexander James, 1981. "The problem with neoclassical institutional economics: A critique with special reference to the North/Thomas model of pre-1500 Europe," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 174-198, April.
    9. Elias L. Khalil, 1995. "Has Economics Progressed? Rectilinear, Historicist, Universalist, and Evolutionary Historiographies," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 27(1), pages 43-87, Spring.
    10. Langlois,Richard, 1989. "Economics as a Process," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521378598, April.
    11. Khalil, Elias L, 1997. "Is the Firm an Individual?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(4), pages 519-544, July.
    12. Khalil, Elias L, 1996. "Friedrich Hayek's Darwinian Theory of Evolution of Institutions: Two Problems," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(66), pages 183-201, June.
    13. Khalil, Elias L., 1996. "What is Economic Action? From Marshall and Robbins to Polanyi and Becker," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(01), pages 13-36, March.
    14. repec:mes:jeciss:v:28:y:1994:i:4:p:997-1030 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Richard W. Ault & Robert B. Ekelund, Jr., 1988. "Habits in economic analysis: Veblen and the neoclassicals," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 20(3), pages 431-445, Fall.
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