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Edited by Claude Ménard and Mary M. Shirley

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Claude Ménard and Mary M. Shirley

When New Institutional Economics (NIE) first appeared on the scholarly scene in the early 1970s, it was a transformative movement. NIE aimed to radically alter orthodox economics by showing that institutions are multidimensional and matter in significant ways that can be statistically measured and systematically modeled. In the decades since, thousands of articles and books have pursued this premise and NIE has evolved from an upstart movement to a major influence on researchers in economics, political science, law, management, and sociology. What made New Institutional Economics a radical idea was that it abandoned: [. . .]the standard neoclassical assumptions that individuals have perfect information and unbounded rationality and that transactions are costless and instantaneous. NIE assumes instead that individuals have incomplete information and limited mental capacity and because of this they face uncertainty about unforeseen events and outcomes and incur transaction costs to acquire information. To reduce risk and transaction costs humans create institutions, writing and enforcing constitutions, laws, contracts and regulations – so-called formal institutions – and structuring and inculcating norms of conduct, beliefs and habits of thought and behavior – or informal institutions. (Menard and Shirley, 2005, p. 1)

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Jane D’Arista

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Peter A.G van Bergeijk and Selwyn J.V. Moons

Peter A.G. van Bergeijk and Selwyn Moons discuss the emergence of the concept of economic diplomacy in the fields of Accounting, Business Economics, Conflict Studies, Development Studies, International Economics, International Relations, International Trade, Management Science, Peace Science, Political Science and Public Finance. The focus should be on bilateral activities such as nation branding, trade missions, trade fairs and network activities of embassies and consulates and the impact of these tools on import, export and Foreign Direct Investment. The field should extend beyond the traditional boundaries of commercial diplomacy and business diplomacy and also cover the not-for-profit-sector, including universities and other knowledge institutes, the health sector, the cultural sector, NGO’s etc. One key finding for research is the need to consider significant heterogeneities with respect to (the efficacy of) instruments, countries, institutions levels of development and behavior and decision-making of firms.

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Theocharis Grigoriadis

There are strong linkages between religion, bureaucratic organization, citizen preferences, and political regimes. The views of Lipset and Rokkan, Marx, Lukacs, Marcuse, Adorno, Weber, and Durkheim are discussed. The choice of these thinkers relates to the three grand themes that are discussed in the book: (1) The linkage between religion and political regimes in terms of social welfare expectations by the electorate, surveillance incentives, and collectivist distribution by bureaucrats; (2) The religious traditions that shape the administrative structures of local or regional communities; and (3) The different levels of policy discretion, administrative monitoring, and centralization that correspond to different sets of religious norms adopted by citizens and bureaucrats. The critique of conventional social theory treats religion in its key dimensions: as state structure, party cleavage, and social welfare.

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Paul Oslington, Paul S. Williams and Mary Hirschfeld