Institutional Design for Collective Action: Tweaking the Rules of the Game for the Common Good

in Comparative Sociology
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



At present, institutional design is an under-theorized and underdeveloped part of the social sciences. In this paper I focus on designs for situations of collective action where the outcome is controlled by the choices of several self-interested actors. In those situations the goal of institutional design is to alter the rules of the game so that self-interested actors find it rational to cooperate. I explore the viability of that definition by considering two examples of institutional design: urban safety and academic peer review. I discuss the implications of my findings for our conception of rational self-interest and propose that three design principles – publicity, boundaries, and contiguity – can be inferred from the analysis.

Institutional Design for Collective Action: Tweaking the Rules of the Game for the Common Good

in Comparative Sociology



AlexanderE. R. “Institutional Transformation and Planning: From Institutionalization Theory to Institutional Design” Planning Theory 2005 4 209

AxelrodRobertCohenMichael D. Harnessing Complexity. Organizational Implications of a Scientific Frontier 2000 New York Basic Books

BoudonRaymond “Beyond Rational Choice Theory” Annual Review of Sociology 2003 29 1 21

BrykAnthony S.Bender SebringPennyKerbowDavidRollowSharonEastonJohn Q. Charting Chicago School Reform 1998 Boulder, CO Westview Press

CampanarioJuan M. “On Influential Books and Journal Articles Initially Rejected Because of Negative Referees’ Evaluations” Science Communication 1995 16 304 325

CasadevallArturoFangFerric C. “Is Peer Review Censorship?” Infection and Immunity 2009 77 1273 1274

CrossN. “Designerly Ways of Knowing: Design Discipline vs. Design Science” Design Issues 2001 17 49 55

DarleyJ. M.BatsonC. D. “‘From Jerusalem to Jericho’: A Study of Situational and Dispositional Variables in Helping Behavior” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1973 27 100 108

DeLilloDon Underworld 1997 New York Scribner

DunbarRoger L. M.StarbuckWilliam H. “Learning to Design Organizations and Learning from Designing Them” Organization Science 2006 17 171 178

ElsterJon Explaining Social Behavior. More Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences 2007 New York Cambridge University Press

ElsterJonOffeClausPreussUlrich K. Institutional Design in Post-Communist Societies-Rebuilding the Ship at Sea 1998 Cambridge Cambridge University Press

FungArchon Empowered Participation 2003 Princeton, NJ Princeton University Press

GladwellMalcolm The Tipping Point. How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference 2002 New York Little Brown

GoodinRobert E. The Theory of Institutional Design 1996 Cambridge, UK Cambridge University Press

GrofmanBernard GrofmanBernardWittmanDonald “The Federalist Papers and the New Institutionalism: An Overview” The Federalist Papers and the New Institutionalism 1989 New York Agathon Press 1 4

GrofmanBernardWittmanDonald The Federalist Papers and the New Institutionalism 1989 New York Agathon Press

HamiltonAlexanderJayJohnMadisonJames The Federalist Papers 1964 New York Simon and Schuster [1787–88]

HortonRichard “Genetically Modified Food: Consternation, Confusion, and Crack-up” Medical Journal of Australia 2000 172 148 149

HumeDavid A Treatise on Human Nature 1739/1984 London Penguin

JacobsJane The Death and Life of Great American Cities 1961 New York Vintage

Soo MengJude Chua “Donald Schon, Herbert Simon and the Sciences of the Artificial” Design Studies 2009 30 60 68

LarsonEdward J.WinshipMichael P. The Constitutional Convention. A Narrative History from the Notes of James Madison 2005 New York Random House

LubanDavid GoodinRobert E. “The Publicity Principle” The Theory of Institutional Design 1996 Cambridge, UK Cambridge University Press 154 198

MarchJames G.OlsenJohan P. Democratic Governance 1995 New York The Free Press

MillerC. Chet “Peer Review in the Organizational and Management Sciences: Prevalence and Effects of Reviewer Hostility, Bias, and Dissensus” Academy of Management Journal 2006 49 425 431

OlsenJohan P. “Institutional Design in Democratic Contexts” The Journal of Political Philosophy 1997 5 203 229

OlsenJohan P. “An Institutional Perspective on Political Institutions” Governance 1999 9 1996 247 264 (with James G. March) Reprinted in J. G. March. The Pursuit of Intelligence. Oxford: Blackwell 52–71.

OlsenJohan P. McDonnellL. M.TimpaneP. M.BenjaminR. “Democracy and Schooling: An Institutional Perspective” The Democratic Purposes of Education 2000 Lawrence, KS University Press of Kansas 148 173 (with J. G. March)

OstromElinor Understanding Institutional Diversity 2005 Princeton, NJ Princeton University Press

RosenthalA. M. Thirty-Eight Witnesses: The Kitty Genovese Case 1964 Berkeley, CA University of California Press

RousseauJean-Jacques Emile 1979 New York Basic Books

RowanBrian BacharachSamuelMundellBryan “The Organizational Design of Schools” Images of School 1995 Thousand Oaks, CA Corwin Press

RowlandFytton The Peer Review Process 2002 A Report to the JISC Scholarly Communications Group. retrieved July 15 2009.

RynesSara L. “Getting on Board with AMJ” Academy of Management Journal 2006 49 1097 1102

SchellingThomas The Strategy of Conflict 1960 Cambridge Harvard University Press

SchonDonald The Reflective Practitioner 1984 New York Basic Books

ScottJames C. Thinking like a State 1998 New Haven Yale University Press

SimonHerbert A. The Sciences of the Artificial 1984 2nd edition Boston MIT Press

SokalAlan FrancaLingua “Transgressing the Boundaries” The Sokal Hoax 2000 Lincoln, NE University of Nebraska Press 11 45

StoneDeborah Policy Paradox. The Art of Political Decision Making 1988 New York Norton

ThalerRichard H.SunsteinCass R. Nudge. Improving Decisions about Health Wealth and Happiness 2008 New Haven, CT Yale University Press

TsuiAnne S.HollenbeckJohn R. “Successful Authors and Effective Reviewers. Balancing Supply and Demand in the Organizational Sciences” Organizational Research Methods 2009 12 259 275

VermeuleAdrian Mechanisms of Democracy: Institutional Design Writ Small 2007 New York Oxford University Press

ZeiselJohn Inquiry by Design. Environment / Behavior / Neuroscience in Architecture, Interiors, Landscape, and Planning 2006 New York Norton


Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 13 13 7
Full Text Views 18 18 8
PDF Downloads 3 3 1
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0