Debates. Why study these institutions?




On this website, we will introduce you to the most recent debates about institutions for collective action. You will be given a summary of the current scientific points of view on a diversity of scientific issues concerning these institutionsand other related issues. For the publications mentioned in the summaries of the debates, please consult the bibliographies.


Current debates


 On institutions for collective action in general


>   How important are institutions for collective action for economic development?


What role do institutions for collective action play in social capital formation?


Was Europe’s development of institutions for collective action from the Late Middle Ages onwards exceptional? 


What was the role of legal changes in the formation of institutions for collective action in Western Europe? 


> How can institutions be resilient/robust? 


> How can we explain the emergence of institutions for collective action in Western Europe? 


> What is the effect of community homegeneity on institutions for collective action? 


> What is the effect of group size on the level of cooperation?


On commons as institutions for collective action


> Can common property regimes can be ‘sustainable’ and ‘efficient’, or are they instead always doomed to over-exploitation?


On guilds as institutions for collective action


Why did craftsmen (and -women) start organizing into guilds?


> What was the political position of guilds?


> What was the position of women in relation to the guilds?


> Is an international comparison of guilds viable?


Did guilds trade their sociability for professionalization? What were the consequences?


> What role did guilds play in human capital formation?


> Were all guild members equal?


> Is there a link between the present-day insurance system in Western Europe and the old guild system?


> Is there a linkage to be found between the old  guild system and contemporary trade unions ? (China only)


> Were guilds an impediment to economic growth? (China only)


> How did journeymen’s boxes originate?


> Was (formalized) mutual aid a social necessity or a way of creating extra revenues?


On waterboards as institutions for collective action


What is the relationship between the Dutch history in water management and the present-day ‘poldermodel’?


> To what extent did waterboards contribute to a sustainable management of natural resources ?


On beguinages as institutions for collective action


Where does the name 'beguines' come from?


On marriage patterns and institutions for collective action


How can a change in the marriage pattern lead to more freedom to organise in non-kin-related groups?


How can we study the relationships between institutions for collective action and marriage patterns?


> What characterizes the EMP?


>  Is there a relationship between the EMP and the shift from kin- to community-based social security?


> What stimulated young unmarried women in Western Europe to work outside their parents’ households?


> How are marriage patterns, marriage exchange and inheritance related?


> How is genealogical data useful for historical research?


On Cooperatives


Why are co-operatives more resilient in times of crisis?


Why are co-operatives in former colonial Africa today distrusted?


Do co-operatives empower women?