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Crafting analytical tools to study institutional change

  • ELINOR OSTROM (a1) (a2) and XAVIER BASURTO (a3)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 16 August 2010

Most powerful analytical tools used in the social sciences are well suited for studying static situations. Static and mechanistic analysis, however, is not adequate to understand the changing world in which we live. In order to adequately address the most pressing social and environmental challenges looming ahead, we need to develop analytical tools for analyzing dynamic situations – particularly institutional change. In this paper, we develop an analytical tool to study institutional change, more specifically, the evolution of rules and norms. We believe that in order for such an analytical tool to be useful to develop a general theory of institutional change, it needs to enable the analyst to concisely record the processes of change in multiple specific settings so that lessons from such settings can eventually be integrated into a more general predictive theory of change.

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Journal of Institutional Economics
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