Framing the State of Nature Through Institutionalist Lenses

Institutional Diversity in Self-Governing Societies. Edited by Filippo Sabetti and Dario Castiglione. Lexington Books, 2017.

18 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2017

See all articles by Paul Dragos Aligica

Paul Dragos Aligica

George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Ion Sterpan

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

The Ostroms’ research program has a dimension that goes beyond the strict boundaries of political science and economics, crossing into the domain of political philosophy. Bloomington scholars created a framework for analyzing how institutions work and develop that helped them specify and examine the relationships between the environmental, social and individual elements. So far, scholars have applied the institutional analysis and development (IAD) framework to the analysis of real life situations. However, reflections on various applications of the framework have led to the idea of “theoretical scenarios”. We show how the IAD framework can be used to assess the use of classical theme in political philosophy and constitutional political economy: the state of nature and state of nature thought experiments. The IAD framework severely limits the claims of experiments conducted from the philosopher’s armchair. For example, Robert Nozick’s argument that the state inevitably emerges from a state of nature is correct only under the material and technological conditions of the 17th century when Hobbes and Locke brought forth the proposition.

Keywords: State of Nature, Anarchy, Thought Experiment, Scenario, Institutionalism, Ostrom, Nozick

JEL Classification: B52, P16

Suggested Citation

Aligica, Paul Dragos and Sterpan, Ion, Framing the State of Nature Through Institutionalist Lenses (2015). Institutional Diversity in Self-Governing Societies. Edited by Filippo Sabetti and Dario Castiglione. Lexington Books, 2017., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2928403

Paul Dragos Aligica

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

Ion Sterpan (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

HOME PAGE: http://ionsterpan.com

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