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Institution

For other uses, see Institution (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with Institute.
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Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior". Institutions can refer to mechanisms which govern the behavior of a set of individuals within a given community, and are identified with a social purpose, transcending individuals and intentions by mediating the rules that govern living behavior. According to Geoffrey M. Hodgson, it is misleading to say that an institution is a form of behavior. Instead, Hodgson states that institutions are "integrated systems of rules that structure social interactions".

The term "institution" commonly applies to both informal institutions such as customs, or behavior patterns important to a society, and to particular formal institutions created by law as well as custom and having a distinctive permanence in ordering social behaviors. Primary or meta-institutions are institutions such as the family that are broad enough to encompass other institutions.

Institutions are a principal object of study in social sciences such as political science, anthropology, economics, and sociology (the latter described by Émile Durkheim as the "science of institutions, their genesis and their functioning"). Institutions are also a central concern for law, the formal mechanism for political rule-making and enforcement and a topic for historians.

Contents

There are a variety of definitions of institutions. These definitions entail varying levels of formality and organizational complexity. The most expansive definitions may include informal but regularized practices, such as handshakes, whereas the most narrow definitions may only include institutions that are highly formalized (e.g. have specified laws, rules and complex organizational structures).

According to Wolfgang Streeck and Kathleen Thelen, institutions are in the most general sense "building blocks of social order: they represent socially sanctioned, that is, collectively enforced expectations with respect to the behavior of specific categories of actors or to the performance of certain activities. Typically they involve mutually related rights and obligations for actors." Sociologists and anthropologists have expansive definitions of institutions that include informal institutions. Political scientists have sometimes defined institutions in more formal ways where third parties must reliably and predictably enforce the rules governing the transactions of first and second parties.

One prominent Rational Choice Institutionalist definition of institutions is provided by Jack Knight who defines institutions as entailing "a set of rules that structure social interactions in particular ways" and that "knowledge of these rules must be shared by the members of the relevant community or society." Definitions by Knight and Randall Calvert exclude purely private idiosyncrasies and conventions.

Douglass North defines institutions as "rules of the game in a society" and "humanly devised constraints that structure political, economic and social interactions." Randall Calvert defines institution as "an equilibrium of behavior in an underlying game." This means that "it must be rational for nearly every individual to almost always adhere to the behavior prescriptions of the institution, given that nearly all other individuals are doing so."

Robert Keohane defined institutions as "persistent and connected sets of rules (formal or informal) that prescribe behavioral roles, constrain activity, and shape expectations."

Avner Greif and David Laitin define institutions "as a system of human-made, nonphysical elements – norms, beliefs, organizations, and rules – exogenous to each individual whose behavior it influences that generates behavioral regularities." Additionally, they specify that organizations "are institutional elements that influence the set of beliefs and norms that can be self-enforcing in the transaction under consideration. Rules are behavioral instructions that facilitate individuals with the cognitive task of choosing behavior by defining the situation and coordinating behavior."

All definitions of institutions generally entail that there is a level of persistence and continuity. Laws, rules, social conventions and norms are all examples of institutions. Organizations and institutions can be synonymous, but Jack Knight writes that organizations are a narrow version of institutions or represent a cluster of institutions; the two are distinct in the sense that organizations contain internal institutions (that govern interactions between the members of the organizations).

An informal institution tends to have socially shared rules, which are unwritten and yet are often known by all inhabitants of a certain country, as such they are often referred to as being an inherent part of the culture of a given country. Informal practices are often referred to as "cultural", for example clientelism or corruption is sometimes stated as a part of the political culture in a certain place, but an informal institution itself is not cultural, it may be shaped by culture or behaviour of a given political landscape, but they should be looked at in the same way as formal institutions to understand their role in a given country. The relationship between formal and informal institutions is often closely aligned and informal institutions step in to prop up inefficient institutions. However, because they do not have a centre, which directs and coordinates their actions, changing informal institutions is a slow and lengthy process.

Examples of institutions include:

  • Family: The family is the center of the child's life. The family teaches children cultural values and attitudes about themselves and others – see sociology of the family. Children learn continuously from their environment. Children also become aware of class at a very early age and assign different values to each class accordingly.
  • Religion: Some religion is like an ethnic or cultural category, making it less likely for the individuals to break from religious affiliations and be more socialized in this setting. Parental religious participation is the most influential part of religious socialization—more so than religious peers or religious beliefs. See sociology of religion and civil religion.
  • Peer groups: A peer group is a social group whose members have interests, social positions and age in common. This is where children can escape supervision and learn to form relationships on their own. The influence of the peer group typically peaks during adolescence however peer groups generally only affect short term interests unlike the family which has long term influence.
  • Economic systems: Economic systems dictate "acceptable alternatives for consumption", "social values of consumption alternatives", the "establishment of dominant values", and "the nature of involvement in consumption".
  • Legal systems: Children are pressured from both parents and peers to conform and obey certain laws or norms of the group/community. Parents’ attitudes toward legal systems influence children's views as to what is legally acceptable. For example, children whose parents are continually in jail are more accepting of incarceration. See jurisprudence, philosophy of law, sociology of law.
  • Penal systems: The penal systems acts upon prisoners and the guards. Prison is a separate environment from that of normal society; prisoners and guards form their own communities and create their own social norms. Guards serve as "social control agents" who discipline and provide security. From the view of the prisoners, the communities can be oppressive and domineering, causing feelings of defiance and contempt towards the guards. Because of the change in societies, prisoners experience loneliness, a lack of emotional relationships, a decrease in identity and "lack of security and autonomy". Both the inmates and the guards feel tense, fearful, and defensive, which creates an uneasy atmosphere within the community. See sociology of punishment.
  • Language: People learn to socialize differently depending on the specific language and culture in which they live. A specific example of this is code switching. This is where immigrant children learn to behave in accordance with the languages used in their lives: separate languages at home and in peer groups (mainly in educational settings). Depending on the language and situation at any given time, people will socialize differently. See linguistics, sociolinguistics, sociology of language.
  • Mass media: The mass media are the means for delivering impersonal communications directed to a vast audience. The term media comes from Latin meaning, "middle", suggesting that the media's function is to connect people. The media can teach norms and values by way of representing symbolic reward and punishment for different kinds of behavior. Mass media has enormous effects on our attitudes and behavior, notably in regards to aggression. See media studies.
  • Educational institutions – schools (preschool, primary/elementary, secondary, and post-secondary/higher –see sociology of education)
  • Research community – academia and universities; research institutes – see sociology of science
  • Medicinehospitals and other health care institutions – see sociology of health and illness, medical sociology
  • Military or paramilitary forces – see military sociology
  • Industry – businesses, including corporations – see financial institution, factory, capitalism, division of labour, social class, industrial sociology
  • Civil society or NGOscharitable organizations; advocacy groups; political parties; think tanks; virtual communities

In an extended context:

  • Art and culture (See also: culture industry, critical theory, cultural studies, cultural sociology)
  • The nation-state – Social and political scientists often speak of the state as embodying all institutions such as schools, prisons, police, and so on. However, these institutions may be considered private or autonomous, whilst organised religion and family life certainly pre-date the advent of the nation state. The Neo-Marxist thought of Antonio Gramsci, for instance, distinguishes between institutions of political society (police, the army, legal system, etc.), which dominate directly and coercively—and civil society (the family, education system, etc.).

While institutions tend to appear to people in society as part of the natural, unchanging landscape of their lives, study of institutions by the social sciences tends to reveal the nature of institutions as social constructions, artifacts of a particular time, culture and society, produced by collective human choice, though not directly by individual intention. Sociology traditionally analyzed social institutions in terms of interlocking social roles and expectations. Social institutions created and were composed of groups of roles, or expected behaviors. The social function of the institution was executed by the fulfillment of roles. Basic biological requirements, for reproduction and care of the young, are served by the institutions of marriage and family, for example, by creating, elaborating and prescribing the behaviors expected for husband/father, wife/mother, child, etc.[citation needed]

The relationship of the institutions to human nature is a foundational question for the social sciences. Institutions can be seen as "naturally" arising from, and conforming to, human nature—a fundamentally conservative view—or institutions can be seen as artificial, almost accidental, and in need of architectural redesign, informed by expert social analysis, to better serve human needs—a fundamentally progressive view. Adam Smith anchored his economics in the supposed human "propensity to truck, barter and exchange". Modern feminists have criticized traditional marriage and other institutions as element of an oppressive and obsolete patriarchy. The Marxist view—which sees human nature as historically 'evolving' towards voluntary social cooperation, shared by some anarchists—is that supra-individual institutions such as the market and the state are incompatible with the individual liberty of a truly free society.

Economics, in recent years, has used game theory to study institutions from two perspectives. Firstly, how do institutions survive and evolve? In this perspective, institutions arise from Nash equilibria of games. For example, whenever people pass each other in a corridor or thoroughfare, there is a need for customs, which avoid collisions. Such a custom might call for each party to keep to their own right (or left—such a choice is arbitrary, it is only necessary that the choice be uniform and consistent). Such customs may be supposed to be the origin of rules, such as the rule, adopted in many countries, which requires driving automobiles on the right side of the road.

Secondly, how do institutions affect behaviour? In this perspective, the focus is on behaviour arising from a given set of institutional rules. In these models, institutions determine the rules (i.e. strategy sets and utility functions) of games, rather than arise as equilibria out of games. Douglass North argues, the very emergence of an institution reflects behavioral adaptations through his application of increasing returns. Over time institutions develop rules that incentivize certain behaviors over others because they present less risk or induce lower cost, and establish path dependent outcomes. For example, the Cournot duopoly model is based on an institution involving an auctioneer who sells all goods at the market-clearing price. While it is always possible to analyze behaviour with the institutions-as-equilibria approach instead, it is much more complicated.[citation needed]

In political science, the effect of institutions on behavior has also been considered from a meme perspective, like game theory borrowed from biology. A "memetic institutionalism" has been proposed, suggesting that institutions provide selection environments for political action, whereby differentiated retention arises and thereby a Darwinian evolution of institutions over time. Public choice theory, another branch of economics with a close relationship to political science, considers how government policy choices are made, and seeks to determine what the policy outputs are likely to be, given a particular political decision-making process and context. Credibility thesis purports that institutions emerge from intentional institution-building but never in the originally intended form. Instead, institutional development is endogenous and spontaneously ordered and institutional persistence can be explained by their credibility, which is provided by the function that particular institutions serve.

In history, a distinction between eras or periods, implies a major and fundamental change in the system of institutions governing a society. Political and military events are judged to be of historical significance to the extent that they are associated with changes in institutions. In European history, particular significance is attached to the long transition from the feudal institutions of the Middle Ages to the modern institutions, which govern contemporary life.

Theories of institutional emergence

Scholars have proposed different approaches to the emergence of institutions, such as spontaneous emergence, evolution and social contracts. Some scholars argue that institutions can emerge spontaneously without intent as individuals and groups converge on a particular institutional arrangement. Other approaches see institutional development as the result of evolutionary or learning processes. Other scholars see institutions as being formed through social contracts or rational purposeful designs.

Theories of institutional change

In order to understand why some institutions persist and other institutions only appear in certain contexts, it is important to understand what drives institutional change. Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson assert that institutional change is endogenous. They posit a framework for institutional change that is rooted in the distribution of resources across society and preexisting political institutions. These two factors determine de jure and de facto political power, respectively, which in turn defines this period's economic institutions and next period's political institutions. Finally, the current economic institutions determine next period's distribution of resources and the cycle repeats. Douglass North attributes institutional change to the work of "political entrepreneurs", who see personal opportunities to be derived from a changed institutional framework. These entrepreneurs weigh the expected costs of altering the institutional framework against the benefits they can derive from the change. North describes institutional change as a process that is extremely incremental, and that works through both formal and informal institutions. Lipscy argues that patterns of institutional change vary according to underlying characteristics of issue areas, such as network effects.

In a 2020 study, Johannes Gerschewski created a two-by-two typology of institutional change depending on the sources of change (exogenous or endogenous) and the time horizon of change (short or long). In another 2020 study, Erik Voeten created a two-by-two typology of institutional design depending on whether actors have full agency or are bound by structures, and whether institutional designs reflect historical processes or are optimal equilibriums.

Institutional persistence

North argues that because of the preexisting influence that existing organizations have over the existing framework, change that is brought about is often in the interests of these organizations. This produces a phenomenon called path dependence, which states that institutional patterns are persistent and endure over time. These paths are determined at critical junctures, analogous to a fork in the road, whose outcome leads to a narrowing of possible future outcomes. Once a choice is made during a critical juncture, it becomes progressively difficult to return to the initial point where the choice was made. James Mahoney studies path dependence in the context of national regime change in Central America and finds that liberal policy choices of Central American leaders in the 19th century was the critical juncture that led to the divergent levels of development that we see in these countries today. The policy choices that leaders made in the context of liberal reform policy led to a variety of self-reinforcing institutions that created divergent development outcomes for the Central American countries.

Though institutions are persistent, North states that paths can change course when external forces weaken the power of an existing organization. This allows other entrepreneurs to affect change in the institutional framework. This change can also occur as a result of gridlock between political actors produced by a lack of mediating institutions and an inability to reach a bargain. Artificial implementation of institutional change has been tested in political development but can have unintended consequences. North, Wallis, and Weingast divide societies into different social orders: open access orders, which about a dozen developed countries fall into today, and limited access orders, which accounts for the rest of the countries. Open access orders and limited access orders differ fundamentally in the way power and influence is distributed. As a result, open access institutions placed in limited access orders face limited success and are often coopted by the powerful elite for self-enrichment. Transition to more democratic institutions is not created simply by transplanting these institutions into new contexts, but happens when it is in the interest of the dominant coalition to widen access.

Natural selection

Ian Lustick suggests that the social sciences, particularly those with the institution as a central concept, can benefit by applying the concept of natural selection to the study of how institutions change over time. By viewing institutions as existing within a fitness landscape, Lustick argues that the gradual improvements typical of many institutions can be seen as analogous to hill-climbing within one of these fitness landscapes. This can eventually lead to institutions becoming stuck on local maxima, such that for the institution to improve any further, it would first need to decrease its overall fitness score (e.g., adopt policies that may cause short-term harm to the institution's members). The tendency to get stuck on local maxima can explain why certain types of institutions may continue to have policies that are harmful to its members or to the institution itself, even when members and leadership are all aware of the faults of these policies.

As an example, Lustick cites Amyx's analysis of the gradual rise of the Japanese economy and its seemingly sudden reversal in the so-called "Lost Decade". According to Amyx, Japanese experts were not unaware of the possible causes of Japan's economic decline. Rather, to return Japan's economy back to the path to economic prosperity, policymakers would have had to adopt policies that would first cause short-term harm to the Japanese people and government. Under this analysis, says Ian Lustick, Japan was stuck on a "local maxima", which it arrived at through gradual increases in its fitness level, set by the economic landscape of the 1970s and 80s. Without an accompanying change in institutional flexibility, Japan was unable to adapt to changing conditions, and even though experts may have known which changes the country needed, they would have been virtually powerless to enact those changes without instituting unpopular policies that would have been harmful in the short-term.

The lessons from Lustick's analysis applied to Sweden's economic situation can similarly apply to the political gridlock that often characterizes politics in the United States. For example, Lustick observes that any politician who hopes to run for elected office stands very little to no chance if they enact policies that show no short-term results. Unfortunately, there is a mismatch between policies that bring about short-term benefits with minimal sacrifice, and those that bring about long-lasting change by encouraging institution-level adaptations.[citation needed]

There are some criticisms to Lustick's application of natural selection theory to institutional change. Lustick himself notes that identifying the inability of institutions to adapt as a symptom of being stuck on a local maxima within a fitness landscape does nothing to solve the problem. At the very least, however, it might add credibility to the idea that truly beneficial change might require short-term harm to institutions and their members. David Sloan Wilson notes that Lustick needs to more carefully distinguish between two concepts: multilevel selection theory and evolution on multi-peaked landscapes. Bradley Thayer points out that the concept of a fitness landscape and local maxima only makes sense if one institution can be said to be "better" than another, and this in turn only makes sense insofar as there exists some objective measure of an institution's quality. This may be relatively simple in evaluating the economic prosperity of a society, for example, but it is difficult to see how objectively a measure can be applied to the amount of freedom of a society, or the quality of life of the individuals within.

Main article: Institutionalisation

The term "institutionalization" is widely used in social theory to refer to the process of embedding something (for example a concept, a social role, a particular value or mode of behavior) within an organization, social system, or society as a whole. The term may also be used to refer to committing a particular individual to an institution, such as a mental institution. To this extent, "institutionalization" may carry negative connotations regarding the treatment of, and damage caused to, vulnerable human beings by the oppressive or corrupt application of inflexible systems of social, medical, or legal controls by publicly owned, private or not-for-profit organizations.

The term "institutionalization" may also be used in a political sense to apply to the creation or organization of governmental institutions or particular bodies responsible for overseeing or implementing policy, for example in the welfare or development.

Look up institution in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
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Institution
Institution Language Watch Edit 160 160 Redirected from Social institution For other uses see Institution disambiguation Not to be confused with Institute This article needs additional citations for verification Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources Unsourced material may be challenged and removed Find sources Institution news newspapers books scholar JSTOR January 2012 Learn how and when to remove this template message Institutions according to Samuel P Huntington are stable valued recurring patterns of behavior 1 Institutions can refer to mechanisms which govern the behavior of a set of individuals within a given community and are identified with a social purpose transcending individuals and intentions by mediating the rules that govern living behavior 2 According to Geoffrey M Hodgson it is misleading to say that an institution is a form of behavior Instead Hodgson states that institutions are integrated systems of rules that structure social interactions 3 The term institution commonly applies to both informal institutions such as customs or behavior patterns important to a society and to particular formal institutions created by law as well as custom and having a distinctive permanence in ordering social behaviors Primary or meta institutions are institutions such as the family that are broad enough to encompass other institutions Institutions are a principal object of study in social sciences such as political science anthropology economics and sociology the latter described by Emile Durkheim as the science of institutions their genesis and their functioning 4 Institutions are also a central concern for law the formal mechanism for political rule making and enforcement and a topic for historians Contents 1 Definition 2 Examples 3 Social science perspectives 3 1 Theories of institutional emergence 3 2 Theories of institutional change 3 2 1 Institutional persistence 3 2 2 Natural selection 4 Institutionalization 5 See also 6 References 7 Further readingDefinition EditThere are a variety of definitions of institutions These definitions entail varying levels of formality and organizational complexity 5 6 The most expansive definitions may include informal but regularized practices such as handshakes whereas the most narrow definitions may only include institutions that are highly formalized e g have specified laws rules and complex organizational structures According to Wolfgang Streeck and Kathleen Thelen institutions are in the most general sense building blocks of social order they represent socially sanctioned that is collectively enforced expectations with respect to the behavior of specific categories of actors or to the performance of certain activities Typically they involve mutually related rights and obligations for actors 6 Sociologists and anthropologists have expansive definitions of institutions that include informal institutions Political scientists have sometimes defined institutions in more formal ways where third parties must reliably and predictably enforce the rules governing the transactions of first and second parties 6 One prominent Rational Choice Institutionalist definition of institutions is provided by Jack Knight who defines institutions as entailing a set of rules that structure social interactions in particular ways and that knowledge of these rules must be shared by the members of the relevant community or society 7 Definitions by Knight and Randall Calvert exclude purely private idiosyncrasies and conventions 7 5 Douglass North defines institutions as rules of the game in a society 8 and humanly devised constraints that structure political economic and social interactions 9 Randall Calvert defines institution as an equilibrium of behavior in an underlying game 5 This means that it must be rational for nearly every individual to almost always adhere to the behavior prescriptions of the institution given that nearly all other individuals are doing so 5 Robert Keohane defined institutions as persistent and connected sets of rules formal or informal that prescribe behavioral roles constrain activity and shape expectations 10 Avner Greif and David Laitin define institutions as a system of human made nonphysical elements norms beliefs organizations and rules exogenous to each individual whose behavior it influences that generates behavioral regularities 11 Additionally they specify that organizations are institutional elements that influence the set of beliefs and norms that can be self enforcing in the transaction under consideration Rules are behavioral instructions that facilitate individuals with the cognitive task of choosing behavior by defining the situation and coordinating behavior 11 All definitions of institutions generally entail that there is a level of persistence and continuity 12 Laws rules social conventions and norms are all examples of institutions 13 Organizations and institutions can be synonymous but Jack Knight writes that organizations are a narrow version of institutions or represent a cluster of institutions the two are distinct in the sense that organizations contain internal institutions that govern interactions between the members of the organizations 7 An informal institution tends to have socially shared rules which are unwritten and yet are often known by all inhabitants of a certain country as such they are often referred to as being an inherent part of the culture of a given country Informal practices are often referred to as cultural for example clientelism or corruption is sometimes stated as a part of the political culture in a certain place but an informal institution itself is not cultural it may be shaped by culture or behaviour of a given political landscape but they should be looked at in the same way as formal institutions to understand their role in a given country The relationship between formal and informal institutions is often closely aligned and informal institutions step in to prop up inefficient institutions However because they do not have a centre which directs and coordinates their actions changing informal institutions is a slow and lengthy process 14 Examples EditExamples of institutions include Family The family is the center of the child s life The family teaches children cultural values and attitudes about themselves and others see sociology of the family Children learn continuously from their environment Children also become aware of class at a very early age and assign different values to each class accordingly 15 Religion Some religion is like an ethnic or cultural category making it less likely for the individuals to break from religious affiliations and be more socialized in this setting Parental religious participation is the most influential part of religious socialization more so than religious peers or religious beliefs 16 See sociology of religion and civil religion Peer groups A peer group is a social group whose members have interests social positions and age in common This is where children can escape supervision and learn to form relationships on their own The influence of the peer group typically peaks during adolescence however peer groups generally only affect short term interests unlike the family which has long term influence 17 Economic systems Economic systems dictate acceptable alternatives for consumption social values of consumption alternatives the establishment of dominant values and the nature of involvement in consumption 18 Legal systems Children are pressured from both parents and peers to conform and obey certain laws or norms of the group community Parents attitudes toward legal systems influence children s views as to what is legally acceptable 19 For example children whose parents are continually in jail are more accepting of incarceration See jurisprudence philosophy of law sociology of law Penal systems The penal systems acts upon prisoners and the guards Prison is a separate environment from that of normal society prisoners and guards form their own communities and create their own social norms Guards serve as social control agents who discipline and provide security 20 From the view of the prisoners the communities can be oppressive and domineering causing feelings of defiance and contempt towards the guards 20 Because of the change in societies prisoners experience loneliness a lack of emotional relationships a decrease in identity and lack of security and autonomy 21 Both the inmates and the guards feel tense fearful and defensive which creates an uneasy atmosphere within the community 20 See sociology of punishment Language People learn to socialize differently depending on the specific language and culture in which they live 22 A specific example of this is code switching This is where immigrant children learn to behave in accordance with the languages used in their lives separate languages at home and in peer groups mainly in educational settings 23 Depending on the language and situation at any given time people will socialize differently 24 See linguistics sociolinguistics sociology of language Mass media The mass media are the means for delivering impersonal communications directed to a vast audience The term media comes from Latin meaning middle suggesting that the media s function is to connect people The media can teach norms and values by way of representing symbolic reward and punishment for different kinds of behavior 25 Mass media has enormous effects on our attitudes and behavior notably in regards to aggression 26 See media studies Educational institutions schools preschool primary elementary secondary and post secondary higher see sociology of education Research community academia and universities research institutes see sociology of science Medicine hospitals and other health care institutions see sociology of health and illness medical sociology Psychiatric hospitals history Military or paramilitary forces see military sociology Industry businesses including corporations see financial institution factory capitalism division of labour social class industrial sociology Civil society or NGOs charitable organizations advocacy groups political parties think tanks virtual communities In an extended context Art and culture See also culture industry critical theory cultural studies cultural sociology The nation state Social and political scientists often speak of the state as embodying all institutions such as schools prisons police and so on However these institutions may be considered private or autonomous whilst organised religion and family life certainly pre date the advent of the nation state The Neo Marxist thought of Antonio Gramsci for instance distinguishes between institutions of political society police the army legal system etc which dominate directly and coercively and civil society the family education system etc Social science perspectives EditWhile institutions tend to appear to people in society as part of the natural unchanging landscape of their lives study of institutions by the social sciences tends to reveal the nature of institutions as social constructions artifacts of a particular time culture and society produced by collective human choice though not directly by individual intention Sociology traditionally analyzed social institutions in terms of interlocking social roles and expectations Social institutions created and were composed of groups of roles or expected behaviors The social function of the institution was executed by the fulfillment of roles Basic biological requirements for reproduction and care of the young are served by the institutions of marriage and family for example by creating elaborating and prescribing the behaviors expected for husband father wife mother child etc citation needed The relationship of the institutions to human nature is a foundational question for the social sciences Institutions can be seen as naturally arising from and conforming to human nature a fundamentally conservative view or institutions can be seen as artificial almost accidental and in need of architectural redesign informed by expert social analysis to better serve human needs a fundamentally progressive view Adam Smith anchored his economics in the supposed human propensity to truck barter and exchange Modern feminists have criticized traditional marriage and other institutions as element of an oppressive and obsolete patriarchy The Marxist view which sees human nature as historically evolving towards voluntary social cooperation shared by some anarchists is that supra individual institutions such as the market and the state are incompatible with the individual liberty of a truly free society Economics in recent years has used game theory to study institutions from two perspectives Firstly how do institutions survive and evolve In this perspective institutions arise from Nash equilibria of games For example whenever people pass each other in a corridor or thoroughfare there is a need for customs which avoid collisions Such a custom might call for each party to keep to their own right or left such a choice is arbitrary it is only necessary that the choice be uniform and consistent Such customs may be supposed to be the origin of rules such as the rule adopted in many countries which requires driving automobiles on the right side of the road Secondly how do institutions affect behaviour In this perspective the focus is on behaviour arising from a given set of institutional rules In these models institutions determine the rules i e strategy sets and utility functions of games rather than arise as equilibria out of games Douglass North argues the very emergence of an institution reflects behavioral adaptations through his application of increasing returns 27 Over time institutions develop rules that incentivize certain behaviors over others because they present less risk or induce lower cost and establish path dependent outcomes For example the Cournot duopoly model is based on an institution involving an auctioneer who sells all goods at the market clearing price While it is always possible to analyze behaviour with the institutions as equilibria approach instead it is much more complicated citation needed In political science the effect of institutions on behavior has also been considered from a meme perspective like game theory borrowed from biology A memetic institutionalism has been proposed suggesting that institutions provide selection environments for political action whereby differentiated retention arises and thereby a Darwinian evolution of institutions over time Public choice theory another branch of economics with a close relationship to political science considers how government policy choices are made and seeks to determine what the policy outputs are likely to be given a particular political decision making process and context Credibility thesis purports that institutions emerge from intentional institution building but never in the originally intended form 28 Instead institutional development is endogenous and spontaneously ordered and institutional persistence can be explained by their credibility 29 which is provided by the function that particular institutions serve In history a distinction between eras or periods implies a major and fundamental change in the system of institutions governing a society Political and military events are judged to be of historical significance to the extent that they are associated with changes in institutions In European history particular significance is attached to the long transition from the feudal institutions of the Middle Ages to the modern institutions which govern contemporary life Theories of institutional emergence Edit Scholars have proposed different approaches to the emergence of institutions such as spontaneous emergence evolution and social contracts Some scholars argue that institutions can emerge spontaneously without intent as individuals and groups converge on a particular institutional arrangement 30 31 Other approaches see institutional development as the result of evolutionary or learning processes Other scholars see institutions as being formed through social contracts 32 or rational purposeful designs 33 Theories of institutional change Edit In order to understand why some institutions persist and other institutions only appear in certain contexts it is important to understand what drives institutional change Acemoglu Johnson and Robinson assert that institutional change is endogenous They posit a framework for institutional change that is rooted in the distribution of resources across society and preexisting political institutions These two factors determine de jure and de facto political power respectively which in turn defines this period s economic institutions and next period s political institutions Finally the current economic institutions determine next period s distribution of resources and the cycle repeats 34 Douglass North attributes institutional change to the work of political entrepreneurs who see personal opportunities to be derived from a changed institutional framework These entrepreneurs weigh the expected costs of altering the institutional framework against the benefits they can derive from the change 35 North describes institutional change as a process that is extremely incremental and that works through both formal and informal institutions Lipscy argues that patterns of institutional change vary according to underlying characteristics of issue areas such as network effects 36 In a 2020 study Johannes Gerschewski created a two by two typology of institutional change depending on the sources of change exogenous or endogenous and the time horizon of change short or long 37 In another 2020 study Erik Voeten created a two by two typology of institutional design depending on whether actors have full agency or are bound by structures and whether institutional designs reflect historical processes or are optimal equilibriums 38 Institutional persistence Edit North argues that because of the preexisting influence that existing organizations have over the existing framework change that is brought about is often in the interests of these organizations This produces a phenomenon called path dependence which states that institutional patterns are persistent and endure over time 39 These paths are determined at critical junctures analogous to a fork in the road whose outcome leads to a narrowing of possible future outcomes Once a choice is made during a critical juncture it becomes progressively difficult to return to the initial point where the choice was made James Mahoney studies path dependence in the context of national regime change in Central America and finds that liberal policy choices of Central American leaders in the 19th century was the critical juncture that led to the divergent levels of development that we see in these countries today 40 The policy choices that leaders made in the context of liberal reform policy led to a variety of self reinforcing institutions that created divergent development outcomes for the Central American countries Though institutions are persistent North states that paths can change course when external forces weaken the power of an existing organization This allows other entrepreneurs to affect change in the institutional framework This change can also occur as a result of gridlock between political actors produced by a lack of mediating institutions and an inability to reach a bargain 41 Artificial implementation of institutional change has been tested in political development but can have unintended consequences North Wallis and Weingast divide societies into different social orders open access orders which about a dozen developed countries fall into today and limited access orders which accounts for the rest of the countries Open access orders and limited access orders differ fundamentally in the way power and influence is distributed As a result open access institutions placed in limited access orders face limited success and are often coopted by the powerful elite for self enrichment Transition to more democratic institutions is not created simply by transplanting these institutions into new contexts but happens when it is in the interest of the dominant coalition to widen access 42 Natural selection Edit Ian Lustick suggests that the social sciences particularly those with the institution as a central concept can benefit by applying the concept of natural selection to the study of how institutions change over time 43 By viewing institutions as existing within a fitness landscape Lustick argues that the gradual improvements typical of many institutions can be seen as analogous to hill climbing within one of these fitness landscapes This can eventually lead to institutions becoming stuck on local maxima such that for the institution to improve any further it would first need to decrease its overall fitness score e g adopt policies that may cause short term harm to the institution s members The tendency to get stuck on local maxima can explain why certain types of institutions may continue to have policies that are harmful to its members or to the institution itself even when members and leadership are all aware of the faults of these policies As an example Lustick cites Amyx s analysis of the gradual rise of the Japanese economy and its seemingly sudden reversal in the so called Lost Decade According to Amyx Japanese experts were not unaware of the possible causes of Japan s economic decline Rather to return Japan s economy back to the path to economic prosperity policymakers would have had to adopt policies that would first cause short term harm to the Japanese people and government Under this analysis says Ian Lustick Japan was stuck on a local maxima which it arrived at through gradual increases in its fitness level set by the economic landscape of the 1970s and 80s Without an accompanying change in institutional flexibility Japan was unable to adapt to changing conditions and even though experts may have known which changes the country needed they would have been virtually powerless to enact those changes without instituting unpopular policies that would have been harmful in the short term 43 44 The lessons from Lustick s analysis applied to Sweden s economic situation can similarly apply to the political gridlock that often characterizes politics in the United States For example Lustick observes that any politician who hopes to run for elected office stands very little to no chance if they enact policies that show no short term results Unfortunately there is a mismatch between policies that bring about short term benefits with minimal sacrifice and those that bring about long lasting change by encouraging institution level adaptations citation needed There are some criticisms to Lustick s application of natural selection theory to institutional change Lustick himself notes that identifying the inability of institutions to adapt as a symptom of being stuck on a local maxima within a fitness landscape does nothing to solve the problem At the very least however it might add credibility to the idea that truly beneficial change might require short term harm to institutions and their members David Sloan Wilson notes that Lustick needs to more carefully distinguish between two concepts multilevel selection theory and evolution on multi peaked landscapes 43 Bradley Thayer points out that the concept of a fitness landscape and local maxima only makes sense if one institution can be said to be better than another and this in turn only makes sense insofar as there exists some objective measure of an institution s quality This may be relatively simple in evaluating the economic prosperity of a society for example but it is difficult to see how objectively a measure can be applied to the amount of freedom of a society or the quality of life of the individuals within 43 Institutionalization EditMain article Institutionalisation The term institutionalization is widely used in social theory to refer to the process of embedding something for example a concept a social role a particular value or mode of behavior within an organization social system or society as a whole The term may also be used to refer to committing a particular individual to an institution such as a mental institution To this extent institutionalization may carry negative connotations regarding the treatment of and damage caused to vulnerable human beings by the oppressive or corrupt application of inflexible systems of social medical or legal controls by publicly owned private or not for profit organizations The term institutionalization may also be used in a political sense to apply to the creation or organization of governmental institutions or particular bodies responsible for overseeing or implementing policy for example in the welfare or development See also EditLook up institution in Wiktionary the free dictionary Academic institution Actor analysis Base and superstructure Cultural reproduction Dispositif Historical institutionalism Ideological state apparatus Institute Institutional abuse Institutional economics Institutional logic Institutional memory Institutional racism Institutionalist political economy Linkage institution List of oldest institutions in continuous operation State Nation country Sovereign stateReferences Edit Huntington Samuel P 1996 Political Order in Changing Societies Yale University Press p 9 ISBN 978 0 300 11620 5 Social Institutions Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Metaphysics Research Lab Stanford University 2014 Retrieved 30 January 2015 Hodgson 2015 p 501 Journal of Institutional Economics 2015 11 3 497 505 Durkheim Emile 1895 The Rules of Sociological Method 8th edition trans Sarah A Solovay and John M Mueller ed George E G Catlin 1938 1964 edition p 45 a b c d Calvert Randall 1995 Rational Actors Equilibrium and Social Institutions Explaining Social Institutions 58 60 a b c Streeck Wolfgang Thelen Kathleen Ann 2005 Beyond Continuity Institutional Change in Advanced Political Economies Oxford University Press pp 9 11 ISBN 978 0 19 928046 9 a b c Knight Jack 1992 Institutions and social conflict Cambridge University Press pp 1 3 ISBN 978 0 511 52817 0 OCLC 1127523562 Faundez Julio 2016 Douglass North s Theory of Institutions Lessons for Law and Development Hague Journal on the Rule of Law 8 2 373 419 doi 10 1007 s40803 016 0028 8 ISSN 1876 4053 North Douglass C 1991 Institutions Journal of Economic Perspectives 5 1 97 112 doi 10 1257 jep 5 1 97 ISSN 0895 3309 Keohane Robert O 1988 International Institutions Two Approaches International Studies Quarterly 32 4 379 396 doi 10 2307 2600589 ISSN 0020 8833 a b Greif Avner Laitin David D 2004 A Theory of Endogenous Institutional Change The American Political Science Review 98 4 635 ISSN 0003 0554 Mahoney James Thelen Kathleen eds 2009 Explaining Institutional Change Ambiguity Agency and Power Cambridge Cambridge University Press p 4 doi 10 1017 cbo9780511806414 ISBN 978 0 521 11883 5 Knight Jack 1992 Institutions and social conflict Cambridge University Press pp 1 2 ISBN 978 0 511 52817 0 OCLC 1127523562 Helmke Gretchen Levitsky Steven 2004 Informal Institutions and Comparative Politics A Research Agenda Perspectives on Politics 2 4 725 740 ISSN 1537 5927 Macionis John J and Linda M Gerber Sociology Toronto Pearson Canada 2011 p 116 Vaidyanathan B 2011 Religious resources or differential returns early religious socialization and declining attendance in emerging adulthood PDF Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 50 2 366 87 doi 10 1111 j 1468 5906 2011 01573 x Macionis John J and Linda M Gerber Sociology Toronto Pearson Canada 2011 p 113 Denhart R B Jeffress P W 1971 Social learning and economic behavior The process of economic socialization American Journal of Economics and Sociology 30 2 113 25 doi 10 1111 j 1536 7150 1971 tb02952 x Arnett J J 1995 Broad and narrow socialization The family in the context of a cultural theory Journal of Marriage and Family 57 3 617 28 doi 10 2307 353917 JSTOR 353917 a b c Poole E D Regoli R M 1981 Alienation in prison An examination of the work relation of prison guards Criminology 19 2 251 70 doi 10 1111 j 1745 9125 1981 tb00415 x Carmi A 1983 The role of social energy in prison Dynamische Psychiatrie 16 5 6 383 406 Ochs Elinor 1988 Culture and language development Language acquisition and language socialization in a Samoan village Cambridge Cambridge University Press Ochs Elinor and Bambi Schieffelin 1984 Language Acquisition and Socialization Three Developmental Stories and Their Implications In Culture Theory Essays on Mind Self and Emotion R Shweder and R A LeVine eds pp 276 320 New York Cambridge University Schieffelin Bambi B 1990 The Give and Take of Everyday Life Language Socialization of Kaluli Children Cambridge Cambridge University Press Morita N 2009 Language culture gender and academic socialization Language and Education 23 5 443 60 doi 10 1080 09500780902752081 S2CID 143008978 Harris J R 1995 Where is the child s environment A group socialization theory of development Psychological Review 102 3 458 89 doi 10 1037 0033 295x 102 3 458 McQuail 2005 McQuail s Mass Communication Theory Fifth Edition London Sage 494 Macionis John J and Linda M Gerber Sociology Toronto Pearson Canada 2011 Print Pierson Paul 2000 01 01 Increasing Returns Path Dependence and the Study of Politics The American Political Science Review 94 2 251 67 doi 10 2307 2586011 hdl 1814 23648 JSTOR 2586011 Ho Peter September 2014 The credibility thesis and its application to property rights In Secure land tenure conflict and social welfare in China Land Use Policy 40 13 27 doi 10 1016 j landusepol 2013 09 019 Grabel Ilene 2000 The political economy of policy credibility the new classical macroeconomics and the remaking of emerging economies Cambridge Journal of Economics 24 1 1 19 CiteSeerX 10 1 1 366 5380 doi 10 1093 cje 24 1 1 Sugden Robert 1989 Spontaneous Order Journal of Economic Perspectives 3 4 85 97 doi 10 1257 jep 3 4 85 ISSN 0895 3309 Calvert Randall 1995 Rational Actors Equilibrium and Social Institutions Explaining Social Institutions 80 82 Hechter Michael 1990 The Emergence of Cooperative Social Institutions Routledge doi 10 4324 9781351328807 3 emergence cooperative social institutions michael hechter ISBN 978 1 351 32880 7 Koremenos Barbara Lipson Charles Snidal Duncan 2001 The Rational Design of International Institutions International Organization 55 4 761 799 ISSN 0020 8183 Acemoglu Daron Simon Johnson and James A Robinson Institutions as a fundamental cause of long run growth Handbook of Economic Growth 1 2005 385 472 North D C 1992 Transaction costs Institutions and Economic Performance pp 13 15 San Francisco CA ICS Press Lipscy Phillip 2015 Explaining Institutional Change Policy Areas Outside Options and the Bretton Woods Institutions American Journal of Political Science 59 2 341 356 CiteSeerX 10 1 1 595 6890 doi 10 1111 ajps 12130 Gerschewski Johannes 2020 Explanations of Institutional Change Reflecting on a Missing Diagonal American Political Science Review 1 16 doi 10 1017 S0003055420000751 ISSN 0003 0554 Voeten Erik 2019 05 11 Making Sense of the Design of International Institutions Annual Review of Political Science 22 1 147 163 doi 10 1146 annurev polisci 041916 021108 ISSN 1094 2939 Transaction costs Institutions and Economic Performance pp 13 15 San Francisco CA ICS Press Mahoney James Path dependent explanations of regime change Central America in comparative perspective Studies in Comparative International Development 36 1 2001 111 41 North Douglass Cecil Transaction costs institutions and economic performance San Francisco CA ICS Press 1992 North Douglass C Limited access orders in the developing world A new approach to the problems of development Vol 4359 World Bank Publications 2007 a b c d Lustick Ian 2011 Institutional Rigidity and Evolutionary Theory Trapped on a Local Maximum PDF Cliodynamics 2 2 Amyx Jennifer 2004 Japan s Financial Crisis Institutional Rigidity and Reluctant Change Princeton University Press pp 17 18 ISBN 978 0691114477 Further reading EditBerger P L and T Luckmann 1966 The Social Construction of Reality A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge Anchor Books Garden City NY Chang Ha Joon ed 2007 Institutional Change and Economic Development Anthem Press Greif Avner 2006 Institutions and the Path to the Modern Economy Lessons from Medieval Trade Cambridge University Press ISBN 978 0 521 67134 7 North D C 1990 Institutions Institutional Change and Economic Performance Cambridge University Press Cambridge Schotter A 1981 The Economic Theory of Social Institutions Cambridge University Press Cambridge Gielen P ed 2013 Institutional Attitudes Instituting Art in a Flat World Valiz Amsterdam Whyte William H The Organization Man Doubleday Publishing 1956 excerpts from Whyte s book Social Institutions Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Institution amp oldid 1035854142, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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