Institutional and Organizational Analysis: Concepts and Applications

Eric Alston (Comparative Constitutions Project)
Lee J. Alston (Indiana University)
Bernardo Mueller (University of Brasilia)
Tomas Nonnenmacher (Allegheny College)

Abstract: We present an overarching framework for institutional and organizational analysis, and the tools used to explain the evolution and effects of institutions. While institutional and organizational analysis can be used to examine the question of what leads to macroeconomic and political performance, it can also be used to examine questions related to the performance of smaller organizations. All human interaction is affected by the institutional structure in which it takes place, and one goal is to present the reader with a toolkit that can be applied in many settings. Moreover, the right institutional structure can facilitate increases in the scale and complexity of interactions that a given society can sustain. Rules, norms, and shared beliefs can explain behavior at the level of the family, the firm, or the national government. Our framework for institutional analysis weds the foundations of property rights and transaction costs (Part I) to the operation of the political system to create the formal rules of the game (Part II) and the dynamics of deep institutional change (Part III).

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