A General Theory of Institutional Change

37 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2013

See all articles by Shiping Tang

Shiping Tang

Fudan University - School of International Relations and Public Affairs (SIRPA)

Date Written: December 11, 2012

Abstract

This article advances a general theory of institutional change. I argue that because institutional change is essentially a process of selecting a few ideas out of many and solidifying them into institutions, competition of ideas and struggle for power to make rules are the heart of institutional change. Synthesizing the harmony approach and the conflict approach, two fundamental approaches toward institutional change, I combine competition of ideas and struggle for power to construct a general theory of institutional change. The general theory explains the basic facts of institutional change much better than more specific theories of institutional change. The general theory also achieves theoretical unification by making many existing theories of institutional change specific versions of the general theory, thus substantiating its claim to be a general theory of institutional change.

Keywords: institution, institutional change, conflict approach, harmony approach, social evolution, synthesis

Suggested Citation

Tang, Shiping, A General Theory of Institutional Change (December 11, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2199709 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2199709

Shiping Tang (Contact Author)

Fudan University - School of International Relations and Public Affairs (SIRPA) ( email )

220 Handan Road
Shanghai, 200433
China

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