A Research Agenda for New Institutional Economics
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A Research Agenda for New Institutional Economics

Edited by Claude Ménard and Mary M. Shirley

Consisting of 30 concise chapters written by top scholars, this Research Agenda probes the knowledge frontiers of issues long at the forefront of New Institutional Economics (NIE), including government, contracts and property rights. It examines pressing research questions surrounding norms, culture, and beliefs. It is designed to inform and inspire students and those starting their careers in economics, law and political science. Well-established scholars will also find the book invaluable in updating their understanding of crucial research questions and seeking new areas to explore.
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Chapter 11: Transaction and transactors’ choices: what we have learned and what we need to explore

Massimiliano Vatiero


Oliver Williamson argued that the transaction as defined by John Commons is the basic unit of transaction cost economics, yet few researchers have analyzed transactions in all the complexity that Commons described. Institutional economists have formulated three fundamental claims about three dimensions of transactions: (1) The rule-making/enforcing process, even if invariant for efficiency (when transaction costs are null), has an impact on transactors’ choices; (2) the transactor’s choices have an impact on the political arena; and finally, (3) the transactor’s choices (especially, concerning investments) have an impact on market competition. This chapter explains and recombines these dimensions in order to identify promising avenues for future research.

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