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Rational Behaviour and the Design of Institutions
Concepts, Theories and Models
The structures of the world's national and international, political and economic institutions have largely resulted from intuitive and ad hoc organization with reforms taking place on a costly trial-and-error basis. This book offers a comprehensive evaluation of the tools which can be used for a more rational and formal approach to institutional design.
As new institutions and, indeed, new national governments are being formed and developed all the time, there is a considerable need for formal models that can facilitate their design. This book offers conceptual approaches and theories that shed new light on how various social and political institutions can emerge as the outcome of goal-directed rational behaviour. The author provides tools for evaluating existing institutions and for setting up new ones, demonstrating the applicability of decision and game theoretic tools, social choice theory and mechanism design to the construction of political and economic institutions. Using these approaches he particularly discusses the practical implications for the design of institutions in the European Union.
This important book will be welcomed by students and scholars interested in government and political science, rational choice theory, methodology in the social sciences, and the microeconomics of rational behaviour.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
`. . . the comprehensive book should not be missing in any library that deals with individual and collective decisions taken in institutions - be it in the department of political science or that of economics.' -- S. Napel, Journal of Economics/Zeitschrift fur Nationalokonomie `Nurmi's book on rational behaviour and its implications for the design of institutions is a valuable contribution to the analysis of collective decision-making. Though written by a political scientist the book shall be of use not only for students and scholars in political science, but also in political economy or rational choice theory.' -- Matthias Sutter, Kyklos `One of the characteristics of a good teacher and clear thinker is making complex issues seem simple. In this indispensable book Hannu Nurmi teaches the lessons for institutional design to be learned from social choice and game theory. He provides the essential grounding for the education of "great men" and the propogation of wise laws based on institutional rational choice theories.' -- Keith Dowding, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK