Research Themes

Here you will find concise introductions to the research themes our research activities are related to. Please take notice that the introductory texts underneath are preliminary texts. These texts therefore may be subject to future alterations.

 

Research Theme: The Household Economy and institutions for collective action

Institutions for collective action provide solutions for problems that cannot be resolved individually. To understand under which circumstances such institutions emerged, it is crucial to look at the challenges households faced, and why they reached out, cooperated and created institutions for collective action.  To understand the history of institutions for collective action, it is imperative to understand the risks households faced, the decision making process in households, and the solutions available to them.

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Research Theme: Formation of institutions for collective action

Institutionalized forms of collective action have been put forward as a key feature of Europe’s precocious development. This project examines that connection between institutions and economic development in detail. It also harks back to the origins of such institutions, teasing out the impact of changing family patterns that emerged in Western Europe in the Late Middle Ages. Within this research theme, we focus on the origins and incentives for the formation of institutions for collective action.

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Description of the specific features of this research theme will be added in due time


Research Theme: Regulations of institutions for collective action

Our present-day society is highly regulated and institutionalized. However, if rules are simply added without attention to the internal coherence of the regulations, contradictory situations may emerge within the regulations and rules may become ineffective. In order to avoid inertia of the institution, adequate action to reduce complexity and complementarity are needed. This project aims to understand how efficient and effective regulation can be developed, executed by well-functioning institutions such as commons - institutions for collective action that existed in the European countryside for centuries, set up to regulate the collective use of natural resourcesfor large parts of the rural population. 

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Description of the specific features of this research theme will be added in due time 

 

Research Theme: Relation between Marriage Patterns and the emergence of institutions for collective action

The emergence and growth of corporations was possibly connected to a weakening of family ties in Europe.  Societies organised around strict family lineage, tribal structures, or clans, may not have provided enough ‘space’ for the development of collective action, possibly setting in motion a whole train of events that put Europe on its specific trajectory of collective action and economic development, whereby family solidarity was gradually replaced by other forms of solidarity. Within this research theme, we investigate the possible realtionship between changes in the household and the emergence of institutions for collective action. 

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Research Theme: Cooperating in care

The past century, spectacular advances in medicine have caused expenses of care to grow sky high: nowadays few people would be able to afford treatment in hospital, nursing home, or elderly home. The main solution for this problem is to pool risk, which is nowadays mainly done by welfare states or by private insurance companies. However, in earlier times, this role was assumed by institutions for collective action, such as neighbourhood guilds (buurtgilden), craftsmen’s guilds, journeymen’s boxes (knechtsbossen) and mutual funds, which helped people to counter the risk of getting ill, becoming incapacitated due to injury, or due to old age. Also in developing economies, there is an increasing tendency to consider community-based health insurance schemes as an alternative to often absent or malfunctioning state and commercial welfare provisions.

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