Deliberative institutional economics, or does homo oeconomicus argue?: A proposal for combining new institutional economics with discourse theory

Philosophy and Social Criticism 28 (4):361-394 (2002)
Institutional economics and discourse theory stand unconnected next to each other, in spite of the fact that they both ask for the legitimacy of institutions (normative) and the functioning and effectiveness of institutions (positive). Both use as theoretical constructions rational individuals and the concept of consensus for legitimacy. Whereas discourse theory emphasizes the conditions of a legitimate consensus and could thus enable institutional economics to escape the infinite regress of judging a consensus legitimate, institutional economics has a tested social science paradigm (rational choice) of explaining and predicting the functioning of institutions. The article outlines a theoretical synthesis of the two theories by finding points in common and possibilities of fruitful combinations concerning the problem of legitimacy, institutional design and effectiveness of legal norms. Key Words: consensus • discourse theory • effectiveness of legal rules • institutional design • legitimacy • new institutional economics.
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DOI 10.1177/0191453702028004523
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