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Article

Milan Zafirovski

The rediscovery and analytical reconstitution are present tendencies in much of social science, especially economics and sociology. The emergence and expansion of the…

Abstract

The rediscovery and analytical reconstitution are present tendencies in much of social science, especially economics and sociology. The emergence and expansion of the so‐called new institutional economics exemplify these tendencies as do attempts at revival and rehabilitation of the old institutional economics. Analogous tendencies have been manifested in sociology by the further development of economic sociology, especially by various reformulations of its classical premise of institutional structuration and embeddedness of economic behavior. Nevertheless, much of mainstream economics tends to neglect or play down certain salient divergences between the latter's neoclassical or orthodox institutionalism, and heterodox or critical institutionalism advanced by the old institutional economics as well as by economic sociology. Identifies and elaborates such divergences between these seemingly homologous varieties of institutionalism. Since institutionalist varieties and tendencies in both economics and sociology are considered, represents a contribution to an interdisciplinary treatment of social institutions, a treatment originally proposed by the old institutional economics of Veblen et al., the German historical school as well as by Weberian‐Durkheimian classical economic sociology.

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International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 30 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Documents from the History of Economic Thought
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-7623-1423-2

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A.Allan Schmid

The first Wisconsin Ph.D.s who came to MSU with an institutional bent were agricultural economists and included Henry Larzalere (Ph.D. 1938) whose major professor was…

Abstract

The first Wisconsin Ph.D.s who came to MSU with an institutional bent were agricultural economists and included Henry Larzalere (Ph.D. 1938) whose major professor was Asher Hobson. Larzalere recalls the influence of Commons who retired in 1933. Upon graduation, Larzalere worked a short time for Wisconsin Governor Phillip Fox LaFollette who won passage of the nation’s first unemployment compensation act. Commons had earlier helped LaFollette’s father, Robert, to a number of institutional innovations.4 Larzalere continued the Commons’ tradition of contributing to the development of new institutions rather than being content to provide an efficiency apologia for existing private governance structures. He helped Michigan farmers form cooperatives. He taught land economics prior to Barlowe’s arrival in 1948, but primarily taught agricultural marketing. One of his Master’s degree students was Glenn Johnson (see below). Larzalere retired in 1977.

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Wisconsin "Government and Business" and the History of Heterodox Economic Thought
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-090-6

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Book part

Malcolm Rutherford

This paper is an initial attempt to discuss the American institutionalist movement as it changed and developed after 1945. Institutionalism in the inter-war period was a…

Abstract

This paper is an initial attempt to discuss the American institutionalist movement as it changed and developed after 1945. Institutionalism in the inter-war period was a relatively coherent movement held together by a set of general methodological, theoretical, and ideological commitments (Rutherford, 2011). Although institutionalism always had its critics, it came under increased attack in the 1940s, and faced challenges from Keynesian economics, a revived neoclassicism, econometrics, and from new methodological approaches derived from various versions of positivism. The institutionalist response to these criticisms, and particularly the criticism that institutionalism “lacked theory,” is to be found in a variety of attempts to redefine institutionalism in new theoretical or methodological terms. Perhaps the most important of these is to be found in Clarence Ayres’ The Theory of Economic Progress (1944), although there were many others. These developments were accompanied by a significant amount of debate, disagreement, and uncertainty over future directions. Some of this is reflected in the early history of The Association for Evolutionary Economics.

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Article

Martin J. Held and Hans G. Nutzinger

In contrast to traditional welfare economics, new institutional economics has made a major contribution to analyzing institutions as both preconditions and elements of…

Abstract

In contrast to traditional welfare economics, new institutional economics has made a major contribution to analyzing institutions as both preconditions and elements of economic activities. By including institutions’ incentives and restrictions on human beings, it has made a significant first step toward the further development of economic science. The usual starting point, however, is a world without uncertainty where so‐called “anomalies” from “rational” behavior cannot occur; but in this world, institutions are not necessary either. Related research demonstrates the relevance of factors like intrinsic motivation, internalization of norms, habit formation, etc., but these characteristics are typically treated in a half‐hearted way as mere anomalies. Instead, it is time to take the full second step and to include the effects of institutions on economic actors as well as to take the third step, namely, to consider the fact that economic agents form institutions. We exemplify these further steps and look on the interaction between institutions and economic actors which leads to a general institutional economics.

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International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 30 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Warren J Samuels

I have two preliminary points to make. The first concerns the type of category we have in mind. It is perfectly sensible to think of “Institutional Economics” as a…

Abstract

I have two preliminary points to make. The first concerns the type of category we have in mind. It is perfectly sensible to think of “Institutional Economics” as a candidate for describing, in part, the “reality” of economics. But in so doing, one must remember that terms and their definitions are tools of analysis. Different definitions of Institutional Economics may be used to describe part of the history of economics but doing so only means that we are using the definition as a tool and that our description is driven by the definition we adopt.

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A Research Annual
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-089-0

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Warren J. Samuels

I am indebted to Anthony Waterman for identifying the largely illegible phrase cuius regio, eius religio, found near the end of Ostrander’s notes. Waterman writes, in…

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I am indebted to Anthony Waterman for identifying the largely illegible phrase cuius regio, eius religio, found near the end of Ostrander’s notes. Waterman writes, in explanation, apropos of Martin Luther: Lit. ‘whatever of the king, so of the religion’: it means that L. thought (being the Erastian he was), that the religion of a country should be that of its sovereign prince. Note: (a), the assumption, almost universal at that time, that there can be only ONE church in any Christian nation; and (b) the assumption, standard until the Scottish Enlightenment I should think (though people like Locke begin to chip away at it) that – as Louis XIV put it with admirable economy, ‘l’etat c’est moi’ (Waterman to Samuels, December 12, 2002).

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Documents from F. Taylor Ostrander
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-165-1

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Geoffrey M. Hodgson

In his article on “What Is Still Wrong with Austrian economics?,” Peter Boettke considers matters of strategy for the Austrian school and stresses the importance of…

Abstract

In his article on “What Is Still Wrong with Austrian economics?,” Peter Boettke considers matters of strategy for the Austrian school and stresses the importance of institutions and institutional analysis. This comment takes up both themes. Two possible strategies for institutional research are considered. Then the place and role of institutions in Austrian analysis are addressed. It is argued that Austrian thinking has been caught in a dilemma between making theory as general as possible, or of taking on board the historically specific character of key institutions in market economies. The different approaches of Ludwig Mises and Carl Menger to this quandary are compared, with attention to the central concepts of property and capital.

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Assessing Austrian Economics
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-935-0

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Ronnie J Phillips and Douglas Kinnear

In 1978, Philip Klein wrote about institutional economists of the Veblen-Commons-Mitchell-Ayres variety:Whatever we call ourselves, we are not given much credit generally…

Abstract

In 1978, Philip Klein wrote about institutional economists of the Veblen-Commons-Mitchell-Ayres variety: Whatever we call ourselves, we are not given much credit generally among our fellow economists, but I think there is evidence that an ever-wider group of economists has begun to hear what we are saying and to accept a number of our premises…institutionalism must be viewed as either never having died or as being in the process of a resurrection which I suggest will endure (Klein, 1978, p. 252).Klein’s optimism seems justified by the following quote from Joseph Stiglitz’s new book, Globalization and its Discontents: Old-fashioned economics textbooks often talk about market economics as if it had three essential ingredients: prices, private property, and profits. Together with competition, these provide incentives, coordinate economic decision making, ensuring that firms produce what individuals want at the lowest possible cost. But there has also long been a recognition of the importance of institutions (Stiglitz, 2002, p. 139; emphasis in original).Klein and other original institutionalists should be buoyed when they hear such a statement from a recent Nobel Prize winner. One problem, however, is that the “old-fashioned textbooks” are still being published in 2003. The quote also raises a question: just who recognized the importance of institutions and when did they recognize it? Statements such as the above by Stiglitz irk original institutionalists, but why? Is it because he underestimates the prominence of perfect competition in current texts, because he is understating original institutionalists’ positions as “keepers of the faith,” or both? In any case, we may not be able to hoist the V(eblen)-C(ommons) banner and claim total victory but, increasingly, more of economics today is institutional economics. A recent article by Allan Schmid demonstrates that indeed though everyone is not an institutionalist in the Veblen-Commons mold, “good economists find it useful to embrace some of its various elements” (Schmid, 2001, p. 281).

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Wisconsin "Government and Business" and the History of Heterodox Economic Thought
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-090-6

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Article

Robert Kudłak

This article seeks to explain the mechanism of adapting enterprises to the requirements of sustainable development. It aims to base this analysis on the concept of new…

Abstract

Purpose

This article seeks to explain the mechanism of adapting enterprises to the requirements of sustainable development. It aims to base this analysis on the concept of new institutional economics.

Design/methodology/approach

The theoretical basis of new institutional economics is used to understand and explain the behaviour of enterprises in relation to the natural environment.

Findings

The article finds that new institutional economics, compared to rather formalised and abstract mainstream economics, may be quite successfully used in answering why economic entities undertake actions for environmental protection.

Practical implications

New institutional economics may be used as a tool for understanding e.g. why some instruments aiming at environmental protection are more effective and efficient than other instruments. It may provide useful knowledge about the institutional environment while creating new environmental protection instruments. More empirical studies on a greater number of enterprises (not only individual case studies) are necessary to find out which institutions and mechanisms mentioned in the paper are crucial, and which should be supported in order to achieve environmental goals.

Originality/value

There are a great number of empirical papers containing case studies, but only few theoretical attempts to generate a synthesis. This paper fills this gap.

Details

Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal, vol. 19 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7835

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