Perspectives from New Institutional Economics
Edited by Claude Ménard
Claude Ménard The research program in ‘new institutional economics’ is expanding and deepening rapidly. In its expansion in the traditional domain of economics, it provides new insights and offers powerful explanations of central issues such as modes of coordination, the integration and disintegration of ﬁrms, contractual incompleteness, organizational arrangements, market structures and factors of growth. It is also extending into new terrain, from legal studies to political science and anthropology. Even more importantly, the new institutional economics approach is deepening. Concepts are becoming better deﬁned, models are being progressively developed, and empirical tests are multiplying rapidly and successfully. The chapters collected in this book illustrate and substantiate several dimensions of this research program. These chapters are at the frontier of the ﬁeld, selected to present ideas and areas under exploration, and without the intention of covering all aspects of current research.1 Part I deals with the foundations of new institutional economics, and it includes three very special contributions. Ronald Coase emphasizes the interdependence among the productivity of an economic system, the costs of exchange, and the institutions that make specialization possible. Douglass North explores further some major characteristics of institutions, particularly their dependence on how choices are aggregated in political markets, how informal constraints and norms contribute to shape them, how the resulting rules are enforced, and why changes are so difﬁcult to explain. It is precisely this problem of institutional change that Masahiko Aoki explores with the help of game theory. Many contributors to new institutional...