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Integrating power in institutional analysis: A micro-foundation perspective

Prakash Kashwan

Journal of Theoretical Politics, 2016, vol. 28, issue 1, 5-26

Abstract: Studies of social dilemmas consistently report higher than expected levels of cooperation, especially in the presence of appropriate institutions. At the same time, scholars have argued that institutions are manifestations of power relations. The higher than expected levels of cooperation amidst widespread power asymmetries constitute an important puzzle about the linkages between power asymmetries and the outcomes of local institutional deliberation. In this paper, I develop a microfoundation-based approach that examines incentives and imperatives to explain how power asymmetries shape individuals’ responses to institutional development and institutional change. I argue that local power asymmetries work across multiple interlinked institutional arenas. A fuller examination of the effects of power asymmetries, therefore, requires that scholars account for how interlinked institutional arenas shape strategic actions of the members and leaders within local communities.

Keywords: Collective action; institutional analysis; interlinked institutional arenas; power asymmetries; social dilemma (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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