Theory and history: critical notes on the Institutional Change theme in Douglass North

Vol. 23 No. 2 (2003)

Apr-Jun / 2003
Published April 1, 2003
PDF-Portuguese (Português (Brasil))
PDF-Portuguese (Português (Brasil))

How to Cite

Cruz, Sebastião C. Velasco e. 2003. “Theory and History: Critical Notes on the Institutional Change Theme in Douglass North”. Brazilian Journal of Political Economy 23 (2):293-310.

Theory and history: critical notes on the Institutional Change theme in Douglass North

Sebastião C. Velasco e Cruz
Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas da Universidade Estadual de Campinas – IFCH-Unicamp, Campinas, SP/Brasil
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 23 No. 2 (2003), Apr-Jun / 2003, Pages 293-310


In his book Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance North explicitly sets out the task of formulating a systematic theory of institutional change. In doing so, he abandons some of the neoclassical assumptions that had so far been informing his work, which makes it possible for him to turn into genuine research problems a series of phenomena formerly regarded as simple anomalies, which, though acknowledged, still held. as elements exogenous to the model. By inserting the author’s argument in the line of reflection woven by him over time, the aim of the article is to present it faithfully and to criticize it, highlighting the difficulties that arise from it when we ask questions about the conflicts that accompany and drive the historical processes of institutional change. It is, therefore, a theoretical-methodological article that communicates two neighboring disciplines (Econom-ics and Political Science) and two strands of the New Institutionalism (shareholder and historical).

JEL Classification: B52.

Keywords: Douglass North institutional economics institutional change international economic institutions neoliberalism