The Focus on Structure
Institutionalism was rooted in late-nineteenth- and early- twentieth- century intellectual challenges to economic orthodoxy and was reflected particularly in the work of Thorstein Veblen, among others. 1 Its emphasis on the importance of structure in terms of analysis and proposed solutions was evidenced in the pronouncements of its formulators. Walton Hamilton, who in 1919 proclaimed an "institutional economics," stressed the need to study "those neglected institutions which exercise a controlling influence over our economic life." 2 In 1932. John Maurice Clark declared that institutionalists did not believe in abstract choices "between pure competition and pure monopoly, or between pure private business and pure socialism." 3 This attitude of openness appeared to fit the upheaval of the Great Depression and the promise of reform offered by the forthcoming New Deal.