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Individual action, institutions and social change : an approach in terms of convention

This anthology consists of a collection of articles that address two common questions : how institutions emerge from individual actions and how individual actions are shaped by institutions ? What unifies these contributions is the search of a theoretical explanation that overcomes the shortcomings of the rational choice explanations of social institutions. The approach developed here deals with two methodological problems that are pervasive in social sciences : that of the relationship between agency and structures and that of role of rationality and norms in explaining individual social behaviour. Individuals are seen to be acting according to «conventions» that structure their interaction and that are cognitive and interpretative schemes that allow them to understand social reality and to give meaning to their actions. In addition individuals do not act either rationally or normatively but are conceived as acting within a «conventional» context that gives meaning to their action but also constrains them. They are supposed to be moved both by normative considerations and by self-interest that can conflict.

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File URL: ftp://mse.univ-paris1.fr/pub/mse/cahiers2004/R04052.pdf
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Paper provided by Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1) in its series Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques with number r04052.

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Length: 95 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mse:wpsorb:r04052
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  1. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
  2. Easley, David & O'Hara, Maureen, 1988. "Contracts and asymmetric information in the theory of the firm," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 229-246, April.
  3. Henry Hansmann, 1981. "Nonprofit Enterprise in the Performing Arts," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(2), pages 341-361, Autumn.
  4. Opp, Karl-Dieter, 1979. "The Emergence and Effects of Social Norms: A Confrontation of Some Hypotheses of Sociology and Economics," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(4), pages 775-801.
  5. Frech, H E, III, 1976. "The Property Rights Theory of the Firm: Empirical Results from a Natural Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(1), pages 143-52, February.
  6. De Alessi, Louis, 1983. "Property Rights, Transaction Costs, and X-Efficiency: An Essay in Economic Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 64-81, March.
  7. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 2001. "Competition in Telecommunications," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262621509, June.
  8. Cornes,Richard & Sandler,Todd, 1996. "The Theory of Externalities, Public Goods, and Club Goods," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521477185.
  9. Elisha A. Pazner & David Schmeidler, 1975. "Egalitarian Equivalent Allocations: A New Concept of Economic Equity," Discussion Papers 174, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  10. Sandmo, Agnar, 1991. "Economists and the welfare state," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(2-3), pages 213-239, April.
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