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 13: (Real) behavior meets (real) institutions: towards a research agenda on the study of the commons

Juan Camilo Cárdenas


The study of the commons can be enriched by better understanding the interactions between institutions and human behavior. Using experiments, both in the lab and the field, researchers can explore how actual humans respond to incentives, information, and rules when facing social dilemmas. This chapter suggests combining New Institutional Economics (NIE) with experimental tools to more realistically model and empirically test hypothetical solutions to problems of the commons. To improve our understanding of what happens when groups jointly access common resources, experimental research will need to strengthen its scientific replicability, expand the number of experiments exploring the interactions between human behavior and formal and informal institutions, and improve modeling by taking humans’ cognitive biases and limitations into account.

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