David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Critical Review 4 (1-2):266-283 (1990)
This paper discusses recent attempts by economists to analyze institutional structure using individualist methodology. It is argued that developments in game theory, as well as advances in the analysis of transactions costs, have proved surprisingly fertile in yielding insights into the nature and structure of institutions. The example of the university is used to illustrate the ways in which the economic approach to institutions can be applied. In particular, the nature of academic contracts and the non?profit status of universities are related to the literature on contractual hazards. Although methodologically very different from sociological or historical analysis of institutions, it is argued that the new institutional economics may provide a bridge permitting greater contact between hitherto almost entirely separate disciplines.
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