Institutions: Uncertainty in Definition of the Term. A Brief Look at the History: 1890-1930
Keywordsinstitution, behaviour, uncertainty, definition
Despite the fact that the significance of institutional economics is commonly recognized, the uncertainty of basic concepts of institutional economics – institutions – and its investigation sphere is widely mentioned today.
The paper aims to trace the process of evolution in the understanding of the notion of institution, from its spontaneous mentions and pragmatic use of the so-called pre-institutional era to the desire to understand and to define the essence of the institution in the period of early institutionalism.Based on the analyses of appropriate literature, the paper tries to study how the term “institution” was understood at the three initial historical period of its usage. For this purpose, the first part of the paper analyses how the term “institution” was used at the start by religious figures in VII and XIII centuries and then by thinkers in XVII-XVIII centuries which are considered as a pre-history of the term “institution” wide usage. The second part of the study is focused on the investigation how the term was understood by immediate predecessors of institutional economics – German Historical School, and the third part of the paper investigates scholars-institutionalists’ efforts in the intellectual context on the period 1890-1930.
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