2023 (20), №3

System Paradigm and Development of Alternative Strategies in Constructing Institutional Economic Theories

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Biryukov, V. V. (2023). System Paradigm and Development of Alternative Strategies in Constructing Institutional Economic Theories. AlterEconomics, 20(3), 505–526. https://doi.org/10.31063/AlterEconomics/2023.20-3.2


This article addresses the key aspects of constructing contemporary theories in institutional economics. The goal is to uncover the paradigmatic framework guiding different strategies in institutional theo­ries and their potential for change. Using interdisciplinary constructivist methods from social sciences, the study highlights the intersubjective nature of economics and contrasts the principles that serve as the foundation for the development of institutional economic theories. The study’s historical review shows that shared research strategies have emerged from a paradigm rooted in the marginalist revolution. In this approach, collective phenomena explain the behavior of agents pursuing utilitarian motives. The unorthodox strategy involves constructing macro-, micro-, and historical-economic theories based on the distinction of two main levels of research: value-normative and institutional-instrumental. Meanwhile, the mainstream strategy concentrates only on institutions and tools. Relying on the established paradigm results in the creation of structuralist and eclectic theories that lead to a fragmented view of the economy. The paper advocates a transition to a poststructura­list paradigm via constructivist logic. This shift entails examining the relationship between agents and institutions from the perspective of economic culture, values, and ideas, rather than psychology. This approach enables a multi-level assessment of the economy as a system of institutions forged through value compromise. It also allows us to show internal changes, considering the impact of path determinacy linked to new values and ideas (ideational path determinacy).

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Vitaly V. Biryukov — Dr. Sci. (Econ.), Professor, Professor of the Department of Economics and Personnel Management, Omsk Humanitarian Academy; https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3385-3603 (2a, 4th Cheluskintsev St., Omsk, 644105, Russian Federation; e-mail: sciencebvv@gmail.com).

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