Institutions and Politics again

by Henry Farrell on January 17, 2007

Many thanks to everyone who chipped in with comments on my reading list; I enclose the final (assuming that I can track down a scannable copy of the DiMaggio JITE reading for Week 1) version beneath the fold. Also, the syllabus that I linked to for Jonathan Zeitlin’s course on institutions at UW Madison last week was apparently incomplete; the full version is “here”:

Institutions and Politics

1 – Introductory Class. Jan 18.

No assigned readings

2 – Different Approaches to Institutions. Jan 26

Hall, Peter A. and Taylor, Rosemary C. R. Political Science and the Three New Institutionalisms. Political Studies. 1996; 44:936-957.

Katznelson, Ira and Weingast, Barry R. Intersections Between Historical and Rational Choice Institutionalism. in Katznelson, Ira and Weingast, Barry, eds. Preferences and Situations: Points of Intersection Between Historical and Rational Choice Institutionalism. New York: Russell Sage; 2005; pp. 1-26.

DiMaggio, Paul. The New Institutionalisms: Avenues of Collaboration. Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics. 1998; 154(4):697-705.

Adcock, Robert, Bevir, Mark and Stimson, Shannon. Historicizing the New Institutionalism(s). in Adcock, Robert and Bevir, Mark and Stimson, Shannon. Modern Political Science: Anglo-American Exchanges since 1880. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press. 2007.

3- Rational Choice Theories of Institutions I – Institutions, Cycling and Stability of Choice (Organization of Congress) February 1.

Diermeier, Daniel and Krehbiel, Keith. Institutionalism as a Methodology. Journal of Theoretical Politics 15,2:123-144. 2003.

Schofield, Norman. Democratic Stability. in: Knight, Jack and Sened, Itai, eds. Explaining Social Institutions. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press; 1995. Skim for discussion of how the debate over institutions developed.

Shepsle, Kenneth A. Institutional Arrangements and Equilibrium in Multidimensional Voting Models. American Journal of Political Science. 1979; 23( 1):27-59.

Weingast, Barry R. and William J. Marshall. The Industrial Organization of Congress; or, Why Legislatures, Like Firms, Are Not Organized as Markets. 1988. Journal of Political Economy 96(1):132-163.

Riker, William H. Implications from the Disequilibrium of Majority Rule for the Study of Institutions. American Political Science Review. 1980; 72( 2):432-446.

Moe, Terry. Political Institutions: The Neglected Side of the Story. Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization 6: 213-254. 1990.

4 – Rational Choice Theories of Institutions II – Institutional Origins and Change (Inequality and Economic Development in the Americas). February 8.

Knight, Jack. “Models, Interpretations and Theories: Constructing Explanations of Institutional Emergence and Change. In Jack
Knight and Itai Sened, eds. Explaining Social Institutions. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press. 1995.
North, Douglass C. Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1990. pp.83-117.

Greif, Avner and David Laitin. “A Theory of Endogenous Institutional Change.” American Political Science Review. 2004; 98:633-652.

Sokoloff, Kenneth L. and Engerman, Stanley. Institutions, Factor Endowments, and Paths of Development in the New World. Journal of Economic Perspectives. 2000; 14(3):217-232.

de Soto, Hernando The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else. New York: Basic Books. 2000. pp. 105-151

Acemoglu, Daron and Robinson, James A. Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press. Chapter One.

5 – Rational Choice Theories of Institutions III – Institutional Consequences (institutions and theories of trust and cooperation). February 15.

Greif, Avner, Milgrom, Paul and Weingast, Barry R. Coordination, Commitment and Enforcement: The Case of the Merchant Guild. In Knight, Jack and Sened, Itai. Explaining Social Institutions. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 2004.

Miller, Gary J. Monitoring, Rules, and the Control Paradox: Can the Good Soldier Svejk be Trusted? in: Kramer, Roderick M. and Cook, Karen S., eds. Trust and Distrust in Organizations: Dilemmas and Approaches. New York: Russell Sage Foundation; 2004.

Calvert, Randall L. Rational Actors, Equilibrium, and Social Institutions. in: Knight, Jack and Sened, Itai, eds. Explaining Social Institutions. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press; 1995.

Levi, Margaret. A State of Trust. in: Braithwaite, Valerie and Levi, Margaret, eds. Trust and Governance. New York: Russell Sage Foundation; 1998; pp. 77-101.

Farrell, Henry and Knight, Jack. Trust and Institutional Compliance. Unpublished paper. 2007.

6 – Historical Institutionalism I – Macro-Institutions (Society and the State). February 22.

Thelen, Kathy. Historical Institutionalism in Comparative Politics. Annual Review of Political Science 2: 369-404. 1999.

Katznelson, Ira. Structure and Configuration in Comparative Politics. in Lichbach, Mark I. and Zuckerman, Alan S., eds. Comparative Politics: Rationality, Culture and Structure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1997.

Hall, Peter A. Policy Paradigms, Social Learning and the State: The Case of Economic Policymaking in Britain. Comparative Politics 25, 3:275-296. 1993.

Scott, James C. Seeing Like A State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. Yale University Press 1998. Chapter Two.

Tilly, Charles. War Making and State Making as Organized Crime. in: Evans, Peter B.; Rueschemeyer, Dietrich, and Skocpol, Theda, eds. Bringing the State Back In. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1985.

7 – Historical Institutions II – The Politics of Path Dependence (Varieties of Capitalism). March 1.

Pierson, Paul. Path Dependence, Increasing Returns, and the Study of Politics.” American Political Science Review. 2000; 33, 6/7:251-67.

Mahoney, James. Path Dependence in Historical Sociology. Theory and Society. 2000; 29(4):507-548.
Hall and Soskice. Varieties of Capitalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2000. Chapter One.

Crouch Colin and Farrell, Henry. Breaking the Path of Institutional Development: Alternatives to the New Determinism in Political Economy. Rationality and Society. 2004; 16(1):5-43.

Schneiberg, Marc. What’s On the Path? Path Dependence, Organizational Diversity, and the Problem of Institutional Change in the US Economy, 1900-1950. Forthcoming in Socio-Economic Review.

8 – Historical Institutionalism III: Beyond Path Dependence: Identifying Specific Mechanisms of Historical Institutional Change (The Welfare State). March 8.

Pierson, Paul. The New Politics of the Welfare State. World Politics. 1996; 48:143-79.

Hacker, Jacob S. Policy Drift: The Hidden Politics of US Welfare State Retrenchment. in: Streeck, Wolfgang and Thelen, Kathleen, eds. Beyond Continuity: Institutional Change in Advanced Political Economies. New York: Oxford University Press; 2005.

Thelen, Kathleen. How Institutions Evolve: Insights from Comparative-Historical Analysis. in: Mahoney, James and Dueschemeyer, Dietrich, eds. Comparative Historical Analysis in the Social Sciences. New York: Cambridge University Press; 2002.

Skocpol, Theda. Protecting Soldiers and Mothers: The Political Origins of Social Policy in the United States. Cambridge MA: The Belknap Press. 1992. Conclusion.

9- Ideational and Sociological Accounts of Institutions I (Organizational Microsociology of The European Union). March 22.

March, James and Olsen, Johan G. The New Institutionalism: Organizational Factors in Political Life. In The American Political Science Review 78,3, 734-749. 1984.

Olsen, Johan P. “The Many Faces of Europeanization,” ARENA Working Paper 01/02 available at (also published in the Journal of Common Market Studies).

Jeffrey Lewis. The Janus Face of Brussels: Socialization and Everyday Decision Making in the European Union. International Organization 59:937-951 Fall 2005.

Schimmelfennig, Frank. The Community Trap: Liberal Norms, Rhetorical Action and the Eastern Enlargement of the European Union. International Organization 55:47-80. 2001.

Kathleen McNamara, “Where Do Rules Come From?: The Creation of the European Central Bank.” In Stone-Sweet, Alec and Wayne Sandholtz eds., The Institutionalization of Europe (Oxford University Press 2001).

10 – Ideational and Sociological Accounts II. The Institutional Sociology of Economic Change. March 29.

Richard Swedberg. Markets as Social Structures. In Smelser, Neil and Swedberg, Richard eds. Handbook of Economic Sociology. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press. 1994.

Dobbin, Frank. Forging Industrial Policy: The United States, Britain and France in the Railway Age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1994. Chapter One.

Neil Fligstein. The Structural Transformation of American Industry: An Institutional Account of the Causes of Diversification in the Largest Firms: 1919-1979. in Powell, Walter W. and DiMaggio, Paul eds. The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1991.

Mizruchi, Mark and Gerald Davis. 2004. The Globalization of American Banking, 1962-1981. In Frank Dobbin ed. The Sociology of the Economy. New York: Russell Sage. 2004.

11 – Ideational and Sociological Accounts III (Economic Ideas in the US and Europe). April 5.

Berman, Sheri. The Primacy of Politics: Social Democracy and the Ideological Dynamics of the Twentieth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2006. Conclusion,

Blyth, Mark. Great Transformations: Economic Ideas and Political Change in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chapter Two, Chapter Eight.

Hall, Peter A. The Role of Interests, Institutions, and Ideas in the Comparative Political Economy of the Industrialized Nations. In Lichbach, Mark and Zuckerman, Alan eds. Comparative Politics: Rationality, Culture and Structure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1997.

Culpepper, Pepper. Institutional Change in Contemporary Capitalism: Coordinated Financial Systems since 1990. World Politics 57,2: 173-209. 2005.

12 – Comparing Accounts of Institutions I (Crisis and Continuity in the Former Warsaw Pact Countries). April 5.

Shleifer and Vishny, The Grabbing Hand: Government Pathologies and Their Cures. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press 1999. Chapters Eight, Eleven.

Allio, Lorene et al. Post-Communist Privatization as a Test of Theories of Institutional Change. In Weimer, David L. ed. The Political Economy of Property Rights: Institutional Change and Credibility in the Reform of Centrally Planned Economies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1997.

Bunce, Valerie. Subversive Institutions: The Design and the Collapse of Socialism and the State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1999. Chapter Seven.

Appel, Hilary. The Ideological Determinants of Liberal Economic Reform: The Case of Privatization. World Politics 52, 4:520-549.

13 – Comparing Accounts of Institutions III – The Institutional Politics of Delegation. April 19.

Carpenter, Daniel. The Forging of Bureaucratic Autonomy: Reputations, Networks and Policy Networks in Executive Agencies. Conclusion: The Politics of Bureaucratic Autonomy. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press. 2001.

Barnett, Michael and Finnemore, Martha. Rules for the World: International Organizations in Global Politics. Ithaca: Cornell University Press 2004. Chapter Two.

Epstein, David, and O’Halloran, Sharyn. Asymmetric Information, Delegation and the Structure of Policy-Making. Journal of Theoretical Politics 11,1:35-56. 1999.

McCubbins, Mathew D. and Schwartz, Thomas. Congressional Oversight Overlooked: Police Patrols versus Fire Alarms. American Journal of Political Science 28,1, 165-179. 1984.

Huber, John and Lipan, Charles. Deliberate Discretion? The Institutional Foundations of Bureaucratic Autonomy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2002. Chapter Four.

14. Concluding Class – Studying Institutions in Practice. April 26.

Peter A. Hall. Aligning Ontology and Methodology in Comparative Research. In Mahoney, James and Rueschmeyer, Dietrich eds. Comparative Historical Research in the Social Sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2004.

Wantchekon, Leonard. Clientelism and Voting Behavior: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Benin. World Politics 55:399-422. 2003.

Erica Field. Entitled to Work: Property Rights and Labor Supply in Peru. Unpublished Paper available at

Farrell, Henry. Trust and Political Economy: Comparing the Effects of Institutions on Inter-Firm Cooperation. Comparative Political Studies, 38,5, 459-483. 2005.



Alison 01.17.07 at 11:25 pm

This is exactly what I wanted to read. Thanks!


Richard 01.17.07 at 11:28 pm

This seems much more focused on the current state of affairs and of less general interest to historians, sociologists and anthropologists than your previous list… which may be exactly what you want. Looks fascinating, anyhow.


Henry 01.18.07 at 12:15 am

appearances may be misleading here … most of the additions I’ve made are sociological with a historical bent (see e.g. the new class for Week 10, additions of various other folks). The main exception is the final week, where I’ve brought in a couple of pieces to illustrate different pol-sci methodological positions.


trane 01.18.07 at 5:32 am

I got here a bit late, but would have suggested some reading of Edgar Kiser’s work on what he calls Analytic Weberianism.

Also, for the discussion at the end of the course you could have added Jon Elster’s review of the Analytic Narratives anthology by Bates As I recall, he made quite a devastating critique of Weingast’s chapter, and important points to Greif’s work also.

Anyway, yes it does look very interesting all of it.


shreeharsh 01.18.07 at 8:49 am

Hi Henry,

Could you maybe give one representative paper for each one of your topics (rational choice theory, ideational accounts, etc etc), for laymen like me?


PLN 01.18.07 at 12:08 pm

I’m thinking about starting up a NYC reading group based around this syllabus, if I can find enough interested folks; I hope you don’t mind, Henry. Wish I’d had this class a few years ago. (Any NYC CTers who would like to join in, please email me at eudinaesis – at – gmail.)


Henry 01.18.07 at 7:51 pm

shreeharsh – I’d read the following. First the Hall and Taylor reading in week 2 – it is a bit out of date now, but it sets the scene well. Then the Terry Moe piece in week 3 on rational choice and Kathleen Thelen’s ARPS piece on historical institutionalism. On ideational accounts, I’d read a piece I haven’t assigned – Mark Blyth’s piece in Perspectives on Politics a couple of years ago. This should map out the debate reasonably well.

pln – good luck with the reading group and glad you like the reading list …

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