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Individuals, Institutions, and Markets


  • Page extent: 336 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.66 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 306.3
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: HB99.5 .M36 2001
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Institutional economics
    • Social institutions
    • Economic development
    • Organizational change

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521773584 | ISBN-10: 052177358X)

Individuals, Institutions, and Markets offers a theory of how the institutional framework of a society emerges and how markets within institutions work. The book shows that both social institutions, defined as the rules of the game, and exchange processes can be analyzed along a common theoretical structure. Mantzavinos' proposal is that a problem solving model of individual behavior inspired by the cognitive sciences provides such a unifying theoretical structure. Integrating the latest scholarship in economics, sociology, political science, law, and anthropology, Mantzavinos offers a genuine political economy showing how social institutions affect economic outcomes.

• Contains a problem-solving model that is an alternative to the mainstream rational choice model • Integrates the cognitive revolution in the social sciences


Preface; Acknowledgements; Part I. Individuals: 1. Explaining individual behavior: the problem-solving framework; 2. The motivational aspect: the strive for utility increase; 3. The cognitive aspect: the theory of learning; 4. The choice aspect; Part II. Institutions: 5. Shared mental models: emergence and evolution; 6. Explaining institutions; 7. Informal institutions; 8. Formal institutions; Part III. Markets: 9. Institutions and the market: the aggregate level; 10. Institutions and market: the microeconomic level; 11. The theory of evolutionary competition; 12. An application: institutions, markets, and economic development; Concluding observations: unified social science as political economy?; References; Author index; Subject index.


'Institutional analysis has recently progressed to expand its domain to include issues of knowledge and cognition. This book is among the first and only to provide a systematic treatment of this important issue. Furthermore, it incorporates the discussion and analysis of this issue with that of more traditional institutional analysis. It is a milestone and will provide a benchmark for future research.' Avner Greif, Stanford University

'Mantzavinos has written a broad-ranging and erudite synthesis of the new institutionalism, an emergent paradigm that holds the promise of integrating the social sciences. Not since the behavioral revolution has there been so much excitement generated by a theoretical orientation. More than any other approach, the new institutionalism is at its core a cross-disciplinary research program. Mantzavinos offers a comprehensive and thoroughly engaging account of the new institutionalism in the social sciences, one which brings together advances in cognitive studies, choice theory, and evolutionary economics into the conceptual fold of the new institutionalism. It is a must-read for all serious students of comparative institutional analysis.' Victor Nee, Cornell University

'Although the book starts with a now-common reference point, methodological individualism, little by little Mantzavinos peels off some of the major current neo-classical postulates – the rationality premise, and the idea that individuals can effectively exercise 'free will' when it comes to decisions. It is an imaginative approach, one that should have at least an 8-hour place in every intellectual-adventure-seeking micro- and even macro- Ph.D. seminar.' Mark Perlman, University of Pittsburgh

'… the book [is] a well-written mainstream synthesis of standard economics with institutional economics.' Journal of Economic Literature

'… a very good book for those looking for a wide-ranging introduction to the subject of institutions or for readers looking to update their knowledge of the subject.' Public Choice

'Here is a book of unbridled ambition and breadth: Mantzavinos lays out a research program encompassing all of social science; he proposes to reconcile homo economicus with homo sociologicus; and he wishes to link micro- and macro- levels of analysis.' American Journal of Sociology

'Mantzavinos does provide a detailed synthesis of the literature and an exposition of the links among … levels of explanation that is not readily accessible elsewhere.' Current Anthropology

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