Institutional economics has been at the peak of its scientific capabilities long enough to reach midlife crisis. Despite its growing interdisciplinarity and other positive trends, the field is now struggling with the lack of “big ideas” and inertia of its methodological approaches. The article considers the potential of the complexity-oriented paradigm in institutional economic theory. Firstly, one of the promising avenues for future research is to focus on the institutions of digital capitalism. They are much more complex than the institutions of industrial society and their analysis requires a move beyond the reductionist perspective. Digital technologies are both transformational and institutional technologies, which makes them suitable for testing new complexity-centric approaches. Secondly, there is a number of methodological steps that could be taken in order to overcome the reductionist approaches, for example, reconsider the concept of institutional evolution in light of the paradigm of extended evolutionary synthesis or bring the human actor model in line with the enactivist (dynamic-interactionist) paradigm. Finally, there is an obvious need for a serious revision of the philosophical foundations of institutional analysis. The article puts forward new principles for studying economic institutions, based on the ideas of post-structuralism, actor-network theory, object-oriented ontology, social constructionism and performativity theory, process philosophy and enactivist philosophy of mind. Introducing these new perspectives to economics will help us expand institutionalist imagination and supplement the standard institutional methodologies with more advanced interdisciplinary approaches.
Acemoglu, D. & Robinson, J. (2019). The Narrow Corridor States, Societies, and the Fate of Liberty. New York: Penguin Press, 576.
Alston, E., Law, W., Murtazashvili, I. & Weiss, M. (2022). Blockchain networks as constitutional and competitive polycentric orders. Journal of Institutional Economics, 18 (5), 707–723.
Butler, J. (2004). Undoing Gender. London, New York: Routledge, 284.
Davidson, S., De Fillippi, P. & Potts, J. (2018). Blockchains and the economic institutions of capitalism. Journal of Institutional Economics, 14 (4), 639–658. DOI:10.1017/S1744137417000200
Frolov, D. P. (2022). Budushchee plyuralistichnoi institutsionalnoi teorii [The future of pluralistic institutional theory]. Voprosy ekonomiki, 4, 45–69. https://doi.org/10.32609/0042-8736-2022-4-45-69 (In Russ.)
Frolov, D. (2021). Blockchain and institutional complexity: An extended institutional approach. Journal of Institutional Economics, 17 (1), 21–36. DOI:10.1017/S1744137420000272
Frolov, D. (2022a). Crafting of cognitive institutions for overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Institutional Economics, 18 (6), 953–959. DOI:10.1017/S1744137422000030
Frolov, D. (2022b). Post-Northian institutional economics: a research agenda for cognitive institutions. Journal of Institutional Economics, 1–17. DOI:10.1017/S1744137422000285
Frolov, D. P. (2020). Postinstitutsionalizm: za predelami institutsionalnogo meinstrima [Post-institutionalism: Beyond the Institutional Mainstream]. Voprosy ekonomiki, 5, 107–140. https://doi.org/10.32609/0042-8736-2020-5-107-140 (In Russ.)
Fuchs, C. (2022). Digital Capitalism: Media, Communication and Society Volume Three. London: Routledge, 342.
Gallagher, S. & Petracca, E. (2022). Trust as the glue of cognitive institutions. Philosophical Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1080/09515089.2022.2134767
Gallagher, S. (2020). Action and Interaction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 320.
Granovetter, M. (1992). Economic Institutions as Social Constructions: A Framework for Analysis. Acta Sociologica, 35 (1), 3–11. https://doi.org/10.1177/000169939203500101
Guerra, A., Parisi, F. & Pi, D. (2022). Liability for robots I: Legal challenges. Journal of Institutional Economics, 18 (3), 331–343. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1744137421000825
Harman, G. (2018). Speculative Realism: An Introduction. Cambridge: Polity, 190.
Harper, D. A. (2010). Numbers as a cognitive and social technology: on the nature of conventional number sequences used in economic systems. Journal of Institutional Economics, 6 (2), 167–190. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1744137409990373
Harper, D. A. (2018). Innovation and institutions from the bottom up: an introduction. Journal of Institutional Economics, 14 (6), 975–1001. https://doi.org/10.1017/S174413741800019X
Howell, B. & Potgieter, P. (2021). Uncertainty and dispute resolution for blockchain and smart contract institutions. Journal of Institutional Economics, 17 (4), 545–559. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1744137421000138
Jacobides, M. G. & Lianos, I. (2021). Regulating platforms and ecosystems: an introduction. Industrial and Corporate Change, 30 (5), 1131–1142. https://doi.org/10.1093/icc/dtab060
Kirdina-Chandler, S. G. (2018). Mezoekonomika I ekonomika slozhnosti: aktualnyi vykhod za predely ortodoksii [Mesoeconomics and Complexity Economics: Going Beyond the Limits of Economic Orthodoxy]. Journal of Institutional Studies, 10 (3), 6–17. DOI: 10.17835/2076-6297.2018.10.3.006-017 (In Russ.)
Kleiner, G. B. (2021). Perspektivy sistemnogo rasshireniya institutsionalnoi ekonomicheskoi teorii [Prospects for System Expansion of Institutional Economic Theory]. Ekonomicheskaya nauka sovremennoi Rossii [Economics of Contemporary Russia], 3, 7–17. https://doi.org/10.33293/1609-1442-2021-3(94)-7-17 (In Russ.)
Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 301.
Law, J. (2004). After Method: Mess in Social Science Research. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 188.
Morton, T. (2018). Being Ecological. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 216.
Munger, M. C. (2018). Tomorrow 3.0: Transaction Costs and the Sharing Economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 188.
North, D. C., Wallis, J. J. & Weingast, B. R. (2009). Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History. New York, the USA: Cambridge University Press, 308.
Petit, N. & Teece, D. J. (2021). Innovating Big Tech firms and competition policy: favoring dynamic over static competition. Industrial and Corporate Change, 30 (5), 1168–1198. https://doi.org/10.1093/icc/dtab049
Petracca, E. & Gallagher, S. (2020). Economic Cognitive Institutions. Journal of Institutional Economics, 16 (6), 747–765. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1744137420000144.
Potts, J. (2020).Evolution of the Digital Economy: A Research Program for Evolutionary Economics. The Research Agenda for Evolutionary Economics. In K. Dopfer (Ed.). http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3736320
Schmidt, P. (2018). Market failure vs. system failure as a rationale for economic policy? A critique from an evolutionary perspective. Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 28 (4), 785–803. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00191-018-0564-6
Searle, J. R. (2005). What is an institution? Journal of Institutional Economics, 1 (1), 1–22. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1744137405000020
Williamson, O. E. (1985). The Economic Institutions of Capitalism: Firms, Markets and Relational Contracting. New York: Free Press, 450.