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The collapse of cooperation: the endogeneity of institutional break-up and its asymmetry with emergence

Christian Cordes, Wolfram Elsner (), Claudius Graebner, Torsten Heinrich, Joshua Henkel, Henning Schwardt, Georg Schwesinger and Tong-Yaa Su
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Claudius Graebner: Johannes Kepler University
Torsten Heinrich: University of Oxford
Joshua Henkel: University of Bremen
Henning Schwardt: University of Denver
Georg Schwesinger: University of Bremen
Tong-Yaa Su: University of Bremen

Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 2021, vol. 31, issue 4, No 8, 1315 pages

Abstract: Abstract Decline and break-up of institutionalized cooperation, at all levels, has occurred frequently. Some of its concomitants, such as international migration, have become topical in the globalized world. Aspects of the phenomenon have also become known as failing states. However, the focus in most social sciences has been on institutional emergence and persistence, not collapse. We develop an endogenous explanation of collapsing institutions. Collapse may be an implication of the very economic success of institutionalized cooperation and of increasing system complexity, when cognitive conditions for effective collective decision-making do not proportionately evolve. Moreover, we show that collapse is not a simple logical reverse of emergence. Rather, institutions break up at different factor constellations than the ones prevailing at emergence. We approach endogenous institutional break-up and its asymmetry from various paradigmatic and disciplinary perspectives, employing psychology, anthropology, network analysis, and institutional economics. These perspectives cover individuals, groups, interaction-arenas, populations, and social networks.

Keywords: Anthropology; Cognitive capacities; Cooperation; Economic decline; Game theory; Institutional emergence; Network analysis; Social institutions; A12; B52; C72; D02; D03; L14; O15; O43; Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s00191-021-00739-2

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