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On Economic Institutions
Theory and Applications
Institutionalist analysis is increasingly used as a key research tool for economists confronted with the shortcomings of mainstream economic analysis and the problems presented by the transformation of socio-economic systems in Eastern Europe. On Economic Institutions brings together leading economists working in a wide range of research traditions who examine theories of institutions and institutional change. This important volume shows that the failure of most neoclassical economic analysis to consider economic institutions is a major shortcoming in scholarship which seeks to describe and understand crucial economic phenomena. After discussing the dynamics of institutional change, the contributors examine the explanatory variables necessary for researching institutions and pay particular attention to 'efficiency' as the key variable used by neoclassical institutional analysis. Later chapters examine the processes of institutional change focusing on issues such as path dependency, selection mechanisms and institutional dynamics, and methodological issues in analysing economic institutions.
An introduction by the editors places these papers in context and traces the development of economic research across the various schools. Economists from both neoclassical and institutionalist schools, as well as economic historians, are making increasing use of institutionalist analysis as a key research tool. In bringing together cutting-edge theory and research on economic institutions, this important volume will be welcomed by scholars working in evolutionary and institutionalist research traditions, as well as by organizational theorists and sociologists.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'Unlike many other volumes of conference proceedings, however, this one has been carefully edited to focus on issues surrounding the presence of institutions in economic life. Taken together, the essays in this volume comprise a compelling examination of the various ways economists are seeking to investigate and explain institutional change.' -- Ross B. Emmett, Review of Social Economy 'This collection is one of the more interesting ones available, offering a true smorgasbord of the perspectives, themes, and methods included under the label "institutionalist economics" today.' -- Alan W. Dyer, Review of Political Economy 'Edward Elgar continues to bring out books of merit in heterodox economics. His list puts older and larger houses to shame... The editors do a fine job.' -- William Waller, Journal of Economic Issues 'This is an important contribution not merely to the institutionalist school of thought but also to related disciplines which have a keen eye on institutional details and have traditionally emphasised them in their research agenda. Economic historians and the other social scientists, especially sociologists, organizational theorists and those interested in politics and law, should find this volume extremely helpful to their work.' -- Philip Arestis, The Economic Journal