Interests versus culture in the theory of institutional change?
This paper suggests an analytical framework to bring two explanations of institutional change together. My analysis rests on three building blocks: Firstly on the idea of the transfer or transplantation of institutions, secondly on the idea of functional differentiation, and thirdly and decisively on an understanding of culture as a toolkit leaving room for interest, choice and strategic action. The concepts of institutional transplantation and of functional differentiation will be introduced in the following section. In the third one, I will reformulate North's neoclassical theory of the state and his elaborations on culture and belief systems in terms of these concepts. Section four, then, offers a proposal of how to bridge the gap between the two approaches. Throughout the paper, I will use the example of Russia to illustrate my theoretical thoughts, a country I have been studying for years and which, as North (1999,9) remarks, is particularly suited to explain the problems of economic change. In section five I will outline in very basic terms how the history of failed attempts at reforms in Russia might be interpreted from the perspective developed here.
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- Denzau, Arthur T & North, Douglass C, 1994.
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"Трансплантация Экономических Институтов
[Transplantation of Economic Institutions]," MPRA Paper 22034, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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- Douglass C. North, 2000. "Understanding institutions," Chapters, in: Institutions, Contracts and Organizations, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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- Olson, Mancur, 1963. "Rapid Growth as a Destabilizing Force," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(04), pages 529-552, December.
- Nils Goldschmidt & Bernd Remmele, 2005. "Anthropology as the basic science of economic theory: towards a cultural theory of economics," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 455-469.
- Wohlgemuth, Michael, 2002. "Evolutionary Approaches to Politics," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 223-246.
- Searle, John R., 2005. "What is an institution?," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 1-22, June.
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