Comments on Papers Presented at the "Institutional Economics at the Millennium: Its Past and Future" Session, January 2000
Mayhew, Anne, Journal of Economic Issues
Let me begin with Geoff Hodgson's paper, for it is an easy task for me to say that I agree with Geoff that his Item (5) is the crucial and defining characteristic of institutional economics. As I have said this in print on a number of occasions over the past 10 years or so, I have no trouble whatsoever in saying "amen." I also find it easy to second Geoff's proposition that
institutionalists need to emphasize both the "upward and downward causation" involved in the creation, perpetuation, and modification of institutions. To quote myself: "It is obvious that culture is necessarily a creation of people and that this is so even if we also accept that people are creations of their culture" [1987, 590]. As I understand Geoff, he is saying that what is distinctive and attractive about institutional economics is the emphasis on seeing people as cultural animals, or, in his words, as "institutionalized individuals." Absolutely.
I also agree with Geoff that one of the characteristics of institutionalism, though not the defining characteristic, is its willingness to use ideas and data from other disciplines. As institutionalists struggle with how to handle the "reconstitutive downward causation" that learning is, they can take heart and learn from the …
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Publication information: Article title: Comments on Papers Presented at the "Institutional Economics at the Millennium: Its Past and Future" Session, January 2000. Contributors: Mayhew, Anne - Author. Journal title: Journal of Economic Issues. Volume: 34. Issue: 2 Publication date: June 2000. Page number: 331. © 1999 Association for Evolutionary Economics. COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group.
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