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Commitment to norms and the formation of institutions


  • Pietro Guarnieri


The paper discusses Searle's description of institutions in terms of deontological constitutive rules and collective recognition. It aims at integrating Searlian conception of commitment with an epistemology of rule-following capable to illustrate processes of formation of institutions. Social ontology per se cannot account for the formation of constitutive rules. Actually, it requires taking as given the object of collective recognition, i.e. the specific content of status functions. The hypothesis of interactive intentionality is introduced to account for the commitment to status functions as the result of an interactive decision-making process concerning alternative constitutive definitions. This interactive process, by acting on the normative interpretation of decision contexts, frames relevance and salience criteria and grounds the formation of institutions. Interactive intentionality hypothesis offers the opportunity to make social-ontological approach based on commitment theoretically commensurable with social-scientific approach based on equilibria and self-enforcement.

Suggested Citation

  • Pietro Guarnieri, 2017. "Commitment to norms and the formation of institutions," Discussion Papers 2017/227, Dipartimento di Economia e Management (DEM), University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:pie:dsedps:2017/227
    Note: ISSN 2039-1854

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Masahiko Aoki, 2013. "Endogenizing institutions and institutional changes," Chapters,in: Comparative Institutional Analysis, chapter 16, pages 267-297 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Searle, John R., 2015. "Status functions and institutional facts: reply to Hindriks and Guala," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(3), pages 507-514, September.
    3. Masahiko Aoki, 2013. "Institutions as cognitive media between strategic interactions and individual beliefs," Chapters, in: Comparative Institutional Analysis, chapter 17, pages 298-312, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Alex Viskovatoff, 2003. "Searle, Rationality, and Social Reality," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(1), pages 7-44, January.
    5. Ricardo F. Crespo, 2007. "'Practical comparability' and ends in Economics," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(3), pages 371-393.
    6. Crespo, Ricardo F., 2016. "Aristotle on agency, habits and institutions," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(4), pages 867-884, December.
    7. Gintis, Herbert, 2007. "The evolution of private property," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 1-16, September.
    8. Hodgson, Geoffrey M., 2015. "On defining institutions: rules versus equilibria," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(3), pages 497-505, September.
    9. Binmore, Ken, 2015. "Institutions, rules and equilibria: a commentary," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(3), pages 493-496, September.
    10. Searle, John R., 2005. "What is an institution?," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(1), pages 1-22, June.
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    More about this item


    institutions; rule-following; conflict; formation;

    JEL classification:

    • B15 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General

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