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  • Theory of institutional design: from the search for ideal institutions to the works of blomington school


TERRA ECONOMICUS, , Vol. 16 (no. 4),

The ongoing institutional reforms in Russia appeal (explicitly or implicitly) to certain theoretical grounds. Given the differences between them, it is possible to distinguish, however, the tendency to strive to build some ideal institutions, which are regarded as a strategic goal. In this regard, it is of interest to consider the Englishlanguage discourse in the field of institutional design and to identify the main directions in its development. The article focuses on the analysis of the theoretical ideas of Elinor Ostrom and her followers, scientists from the so-called Bloomington school. Their fundamental difference is the rejection of the statement about the existence of some ideal effective institutions. After examining the extensive empirical material and experience of reforms in many regions of the world (using the example of reforming public goods distribution institutions, or commons), Ostrom raised perhaps the most urgent question for institutional analysis that the institutional mechanisms that are often more effective local population during the process of social selforganization, and were not the result of the work of external managers. In the article, the main postulates and conclusions of the works of Elinor Ostrom are compared with another theoretical direction of studying the problems of institutional design. It is presented in the collective work «The Theory of Institutional Design» (1996) edited by Robert Goodin. It contains the works of authors who consider institutional design rather as a problem of the implementation of the first institutions in the institutional environment. The key point in the implementation of such strategies is the revision of a set of informal rules to bring them into line with the formal ones. This circumstance is the cornerstone of distinguishing such an approach with the legacy of Elinor Ostrom, who spoke of the need to pair formal and informal rules.

Keywords: institutional design; institutions; reform theory; meso level of economic analysis; institutional theory; Elinor Ostrom; Bloomington school

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Publisher: Southern Federal University
Founder: Southern Federal University
ISSN: 2073-6606