Between Game Theory and Institutional Studies: The Dual-Dualities of the Institutional Process

32 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2010

Date Written: June 11, 2010


Abstract. In institutional studies various concepts and terms have been proposed to describe institutional phenomena and their nature. They include behavioral regularity, habituation, collective intentionality, common knowledge, shared beliefs, artifacts, rules of the game, system of signs, and many more. Depending on which of these are adopted as major concepts, varied methodologies may be distinguished. This paper attempts to relate some of these concepts into a unified framework for an understanding of institutional phenomena and processes. Specifically, it interprets some achievements in epistemic and potential game theory in the context of institutional studies. Although game theory is sometimes regarded as a quintessential example of the theoretical approach based on methodological individualism, it suggests that notions of external artifacts (public representations) and internal mental states (internal representations), as well as those of agency and sociality, should not be taken as opposing concepts. The combination of these four elements suggests the dual-dualities of institutional processes.

Keywords: institutions, epistemic game, potential game, dual-dualities, common knowledge, public representation

JEL Classification: E12, B40, B52, C70, D80

Suggested Citation

Aoki, Masahiko, Between Game Theory and Institutional Studies: The Dual-Dualities of the Institutional Process (June 11, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Masahiko Aoki (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

E314 Encina Hall
Stanford, CA 94305-6015
United States
415-723-3975 (Phone)
415-725-5702 (Fax)


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