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 18: Modeling the institutional matrix: norms, culture, and robust design

Jenna Bednar


An institution’s ability to shape behavior is affected by other institutions that are also active – and the legacy of institutions that preceded it. What North described as an “institutional matrix” is a research domain of nearly untapped potential, but it requires new methodological approaches. In this chapter the author suggests one approach to modeling the connection between institutions, Games +, which considers multiple games simultaneously. Connections between games take shape as behavioral spillovers, the way that people employ familiar behaviors as an initial approach to a novel situation. Using a Games + approach is a tool to provide insight into two fields of institutional research: the relationship between culture and institutional performance, and robust institutional design.

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