Erwin Dekker

Erwin Dekker
George Mason University | GMU · Mercatus Center

PhD

About

106
Publications
21,653
Reads
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365
Citations
Citations since 2016
88 Research Items
358 Citations
2016201720182019202020212022020406080100
2016201720182019202020212022020406080100
2016201720182019202020212022020406080100
2016201720182019202020212022020406080100
Introduction
Erwin Dekker is senior fellow with the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He has recently published Jan Tinbergen (1903-1994) and the Rise of Economic Expertise (2021) and The Viennese Students of Civilization (2016), as well as the edited volume Governing Markets as Knowledge Commons (2021) all with Cambridge University Press.
Additional affiliations
February 2017 - January 2020
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Description
  • Postdoctoral researcher to write an intellectual biography of Jan Tinbergen (1903-1994), recipient of the first Nobel Prize in Economics
August 2015 - July 2016
George Mason University
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Description
  • Postdoctoral Fellow at the F.A. Hayek Program in Philosophy, Politics and Economics
February 2014 - present
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Position
  • Research Assistant
Education
September 2006 - July 2007
The London School of Economics and Political Science
Field of study
  • MSc Philosophy of the Social Sciences
September 2003 - July 2006
University of Amsterdam
Field of study
  • Economics
September 2002 - July 2006
University of Amsterdam
Field of study
  • Political Science

Publications

Publications (106)
Article
Full-text available
This paper argues that a third approach to study the value of art and culture is emerging: the valuation approach. The paper, first, outlines the two established approaches to study the value of art. The economics of the arts approach in which economic analysis is used to analyze the arts is the first of those established approaches. The other esta...
Book
Full-text available
This book argues that the work of the Austrian economists, including Carl Menger, Joseph Schumpeter, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek, has been too narrowly interpreted. Through a study of Viennese politics and culture, it demonstrates that the project they were engaged in was much broader: the study and defense of a liberal civilization. Erwin...
Preprint
Full-text available
This paper argues that there are two rival meanings of the concept of ecological rationality, which are often believed to be closely related if not similar. The first type is ecological rationality (ER1) as used in the work of Gerd Gigerenzer, which refers to the use of cognitive strategies, heuristics in particular, in real-world decisions. The se...
Preprint
This paper analyzes the Ostrom Workshop as a site of interdisciplinary collective knowledge production. We provide an overview of the history of the Workshop and its most important outputs in terms of ideas, artifacts, and facilities for research. We argue that the unique contribution of the Workshop to the social sciences came about through three...
Book
Full-text available
Jan Tinbergen was the first Nobel Prize winner in Economics and one of the most influential economists of the 20th century. This book argues that his crucial contribution is the theory of economic policy and the legitimation of economic expertise in service of the state. It traces his youthful socialist ideals which found political direction in the...
Preprint
Full-text available
There has been a resurgence in scholarship on Karl Polanyi in recent years, against the backdrop of rising populism and critiques of globalization and financialization. In these works, Polanyi is typically portrayed as critic of the contested notion of 'neoliberalism'. In this paper I demonstrate that, to the contrary, Polanyi's Great Transformatio...
Article
This article argues for the need for the empirical analysis of how firms manage repugnance and core-stigmatization. To develop our empirical perspective, we compare the work on repugnance with the existing empirical literature in management on core-stigma and argue that core-stigmatization results from the mobilized repugnance. The core-stigmatized...
Preprint
Full-text available
This article argues for the need for the empirical analysis of how firms manage repugnance and core-stigmatization. To develop our empirical perspective, we compare the work on repugnance with the existing empirical literature in management on core-stigma and argue that core-stigmatization results from the mobilized repugnance. The core-stigmatized...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we contextualize Carl Menger’s work in relation to the transformations of German political economy from the 1860s to the 1890s. We demonstrate that his Grundsätze (1871) was a culmination of the German subjectivist tradition which had started in the early nineteenth century. Menger’s synthesis of this tradition is comparable to Adam S...
Preprint
Full-text available
It might be true that no one has made a ‘bargain’ in verse as Smith suggested. But new products will be advertised, packaged, and launched in ‘verse’. The eighteenth-century trader speaking precise and pointedly has been supplemented, if not replaced by the designer, the (m)ad man and the PR-manager. They have incorporated what Smith already recogn...
Article
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There is a growing realization that the once-seemingly monolithic body of neoclassical economics housed much more pluralism than was alleged by both critics and proponents. The work of William Jack Baumol (1922–2017) is a case in point. His early attempts to integrate dynamics into economic theory were inspired by both Joseph Schumpeter and Karl Ma...
Article
This article utilizes a novel empirical strategy, the study of exemplars, to investigate the transformation of quality conventions in the film industry during the 1960s and 1970s. Exemplars are films or directors which are used as a reference point (focal points) in the evaluation of other movies or directors. We use an original dataset of movie re...
Preprint
Full-text available
Thinking in terms of order is believed to be a feature of several liberal economic schools, most famously the ordoliberal school. This paper demonstrates that the work of Jan Tinbergen provides a good example of 'thinking-in-orders' on the left. His analysis of the national and international economic system is done is terms of order, and he believe...
Article
Thinking in terms of order is believed to be a feature of several liberal economic schools, most famously the ordoliberal school. This article demonstrates that the work of Jan Tinbergen provides a good example of “thinking in orders” on the left. His analysis of the national and international economic system is conducted is terms of order, and he...
Article
Full-text available
This paper reconstructs Carl Menger's theory of economic development centered around the growth of knowledge. Menger made knowledge central to the economic process, long before this was done more widely in economics. His work draws attention to two different types of knowledge, shared cognitive and institutional frameworks which help create coheren...
Preprint
Full-text available
This paper situates the work of the first Dutch female economist Elizabeth (Lizzy) van Dorp on the women's question within her broader economic and social views and it details her struggles to obtain a respected position within the economics profession in the first decades of the twentieth century. Van Dorp was one of the first female PhD's in the...
Article
This paper analyzes the political-economic context of Jan Tinbergen's work as development planning expert in Turkey between 1960 and 1966. Tinbergen was brought in against the will of the Turkish government in early 1960, at the urging of the OECD and the IMF. After the military coup later that year he played a key role in the founding of the State...
Article
Full-text available
One of the defining features of modern social science and economics in particular is the hard break it posits between everyday and scientific knowledge. French philosophers have called this the epistemological break. One of the key consequences of this is that scientists have access to superior knowledge and are in a position to inform and steer th...
Chapter
Knowledge commons facilitate voluntary private interactions in markets and societies. These shared pools of knowledge consist of intellectual and legal infrastructures that both enable and constrain private initiatives. This volume brings together theoretical and empirical approaches that develop and apply the Governing Knowledge Commons framework...
Article
Full-text available
This paper argues that the different symbolic meanings of goods give rise to three institutionally different market types. We start from the realization that consumption has symbolic meaning, which individuals use to communicate and construct their identity to their social networks. We argue that firm behavior (including size, pricing and marketing...
Article
Full-text available
Central to Cowen’s realistic Rawlsianism is the desire for robust institutions. An economic framework able to cope with (partially) self-interested individuals and capable of generating large-scale social coordination in the face of the epistemic limitations of all individuals, whether they are consumers, entrepreneurs or policymakers. But for an a...
Book
Knowledge commons facilitate voluntary private interactions in markets and societies. These shared pools of knowledge consist of intellectual and legal infrastructures that both enable and constrain private initiatives. This volume brings together theoretical and empirical approaches that develop and apply the Governing Knowledge Commons framework...
Preprint
Full-text available
This paper analyzes markets with an 'infinite variety' of goods, such as large parts of service economy and creative industries such as the book, film and music market. I argue that the infinite variety of supply that characterizes such markets does not lead to discoordination, because of the emergence of cognitive institutions in the form of marke...
Article
This paper provides a reappreciation of the second edition of Carl Menger's Principles. It reconstructs his new theory of needs, which for Menger analytically precedes the valuation of goods. It is argued that this new theory of needs provides a possible bridge between economics and the natural sciences. It provided important conceptual tools for t...
Article
This paper analyzes the Ostrom Workshop as a site of interdisciplinary collective knowledge production. We provide an overview of the history of the Workshop and its most important outputs in terms of ideas, artifacts, and facilities for research. We argue that the Workshop’s contributions to social science came about by way of three types of colle...
Chapter
Full-text available
Definition: Heterarchy is a complex adaptive system of governance, an order with more than one governing principle. Heterarchies include elements of hierarchies and networks, but in a number of important ways, heterarchies are different from both of these systems of governance. The model of heterarchical governance is like plate tectonics: mutually...
Article
Full-text available
This article appeared originally in 1930, in Dutch, under the title “Mathematiese Psychologie” in Mens en Maatschappij. Translated and annotated by Conrad Heilmann, Stefan Wintein, Ruth Hinz, and Erwin Dekker, it is accompanied—in the present issue—by the article “No Envy: Jan Tinbergen on Fairness” written by Conrad Heilmann and Stefan Wintein.
Book
De eerste biografie over de Nederlandse Nobelprijswinnaar voor de economie. Jan Tinbergen is zonder twijfel Nederlands grootste en bekendste econoom. Hij won in 1969 de eerste Nobelprijs voor de economie. Als oprichter van het Centraal Planbureau en uitvinder van de macro-economische modellen wordt Tinbergen vaak herinnerd als de architect van mod...
Preprint
Full-text available
Jan Tinbergen was an extremely prolific economist who published extensively aimed at both an academic and more popular audiences. There have been previous attempts to compile bibliographies of his work notably by in Tinbergen’s Selected Papers edited by L.H. Klaassen, L.M. Koyck and H.J. Witteveen (1959) with a small update from J.B.D. Derksen (De...
Article
Full-text available
This article is part of a Cosmos + Taxis symposium on Scott Scheall's 'F.A. Hayek and the Epistemology of Politics, in which it is argued that a Hayekian perspective on politics should view it as a process of political coordination. Just like the Hayekian economic epistemology finds its realization in the study of the process of economic coordinati...
Article
Full-text available
This essay explores what insights about dealing with a pandemic can be learned from political economy. We argue that epidemiology and political economy share many theoretical and policy challenges. Experts in both fields face similar dilemmas in positioning themselves vis-à-vis the state and society, while epidemiologic and market processes are onl...
Article
Full-text available
This article analyzes the role that crowdfunding plays for artists who create small-scale projects. We find that artists struggle to reach new audiences and, thus, mainly use this funding tool to transform monetary gifts into reputation for their careers. Crowdfunding platforms are believed to lower transaction costs while allowing for more direct...
Article
One of the defining features of modern social science and economics in particular is the hard break it posits between everyday and scientific knowledge. French philosophers have called this characteristic the epistemological break. One of the key consequences of this break is that scientists have access to superior knowledge and are in a position t...
Preprint
Full-text available
Economics is characterized by an epistemological break: a discontinuity, between everyday and scientific understandings. An extensive empirical literature proves the so-called economic ignorance of the public. This has created a disdain for the public among economists and provided an argument for more influence of experts. We demonstrate that this...
Preprint
Full-text available
This paper utilizes a novel empirical strategy, the study of exemplars, to investigate the transformation of quality conventions in the film industry during the 1960s and 1970s. Exemplars, are films or directors which are used as reference point (focal points) in the evaluation of other movies or directors. We use an original dataset of movie revie...
Preprint
Full-text available
What Potts’ book has to offer is a radically new theory of the origins of innovation that does away with the creative genius and replaces it with the scenes, salons and creative communities that are part and parcel of the economic history of the cultural sector. The great merit of Potts’ theory is that he manages to integrate these clubs into econo...
Article
Full-text available
This article argues that the discussion of incentives in economics neglects a crucial question: why are some incentives felt as powerful reasons to alter actions, while other incentives have little, or even counterproductive, effect? We argue that an answer to this question can be found in recent empirical work in economic sociology, institutional...
Preprint
Full-text available
In the conclusion to the impressive history of the Austrian School Wasserman approvingly quotes Schumpeter: “we must never forget that genuine schools are sociological realities—living beings. They have their structures—relations between leaders and followers—their flags, their battle cries, their moods, their all-too-human interests”. The great me...
Chapter
Full-text available
This paper analyzes the reasons why Jan Tinbergen was initially hostile to the idea of European integration, which he regarded as a poor substitute for an international order. The paper argues that Tinbergen's thought on the international order was crucially shaped by two influences, his thinking about economic order at the national level and his e...
Preprint
Full-text available
The book is anything but comprehensive, and from a number of perspectives quite disappointing. But its searching characters reflects some of the qualities of Polanyi’s own writing. It does not provide a definitive exposition of Polanyi’s economic ideas, at best an exploration of them. Bíró certainly succeeds in making clear that there are lots of u...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents an original conceptualization of the different attitudes economists have expressed toward their object of study. It distinguishes between a humanist and a scientist tradition in economics and argues that both stances can be combined with an active and a passive attitude. This results in four different positions or attitudes, tha...
Preprint
Full-text available
This paper argues that one of the weaknesses of the neoliberals of the 1940s was their failure to develop a positive program of individual emancipation. It is demonstrated that in conversation with the critics of neoliberalism (Foucault, Cooper, Boltanski and others) such an agenda can be developed. To do so we should disentangle the neoliberal age...
Preprint
Full-text available
It is 50 years since the first Nobel Prize in economics was awarded to Jan Tinbergen and Ragnar Frisch. This article analyzes, based on their correspondence, the close cooperation between these pioneers of econometrics which spanned four decades and various subfields in economics. It is demonstrated that Frisch was responsible for the theoretical b...
Chapter
Full-text available
In this chapter it is argued that the future of Austrian economics is best sought in the field of philosophy, politics, and economics (PPE), with a strong and diverse connection with civil society. The authors demonstrate the limitations inherent in the discipline of economics for Austrian economists, which consist of its narrowness as well as its...
Article
Full-text available
This paper argues that the notion of ‘ecological rationality’ as used in (behavioral) economics has two rival meanings. The first type of ecological rationality (ER1) as used by Gerd Gigerenzer, refers to the use of cognitive strategies, heuristics in particular, in real-world decisions. The second type of ecological rationality (ER2) as used in th...
Article
In this chapter, we present fragments of previously unpublished correspondence between Ludwig Lachmann and G. L. S. Shackle on the nature of institutions. This correspondence allows us to rationally reconstruct a theory of institutions, which extends Lachmann’s theoretical work. Shackle pointed out to Lachmann that institutions might be inputs into...
Chapter
Full-text available
Hayek’s success in the United States, where his Road to Serfdom (1944) and Constitution of Liberty (1960) have become standard works, have made us think of him predominantly as working within the Anglo-Saxon tradition. And hence we tend to understand Hayek as a twentieth-century liberal, close to Mill and holding a notion of liberty that is close t...
Article
Full-text available
It is clear that many of the current discontents of our day are not simply economic, but extend to social issues (immigration and free speech) as well as the state (the future of the EU and the rise of populism on the left and right). The problem is not merely the stability of our financial system or the global economy more broadly, but what in thi...
Article
This paper argues that one of the weaknesses of the neoliberals of the 1940s was their failure to develop a positive program of individual emancipation. It is demonstrated that in conversation with the critics of neoliberalism (Foucault, Cooper, and others) such an agenda can be developed. To do so we should disentangle the neoliberal agenda from t...
Preprint
Full-text available
This article analyzes the way in which artists use crowdfunding platforms. We find that the artists struggle to break out of existing networks and reach new audiences. Hence they experience the money donated to the project as a personal gift. Despite a high success rate of projects, most of them report not wanting to use crowdfunding again. We inte...
Chapter
This is a preliminary draft of an introductory chapter to an edited volume titled Governing Markets as Knowledge Commons: The New Entrepreneurial History of Shared Social Infrastructures. We lay down a theoretical framework for the analysis of the production , reproduction, and transformation of intellectual and legal infrastructures that enable ma...
Preprint
Full-text available
This paper presents an original conceptualization of the different attitudes economists have expressed toward their object of study. It distinguishes between a humanist and a scientist tradition in economics and argues that both stances can be combined with an active and a passive attitude. This results in four different positions or attitudes, tha...
Preprint
Full-text available
We provide an analysis of the effectiveness of the cultural policy in Brazil under the Rouanet law for the period 1993-2016. We find that donations and sponsorships under this law have exacerbated existing disparities, benefitted mostly already profitable cultural organizations, and have given a small number of mostly state-owned firms not only a s...
Preprint
This article argues that within the current discussion of incentives in economics a crucial question is neglected: why are some incentives felt as very powerful reasons to alter actions at the same time as other incentives hardly manage to produce any effect at all, and while yet other incentives actually have counterproductive effects? We argue th...
Article
Full-text available
Ian Kumekawa. The First Serious Optimist. A.C. Pigou and the Birth of Welfare Economics. Princeton University Press, Princeton (NJ)2017. x, 332 pp. Ill. $35.00; £27.95. - Volume 63 Issue 2 - Erwin Dekker
Preprint
Full-text available
Overall, it is clear that in Kumekawa Pigou has found a very sympathetic biographer, who writes in the best Cambridge tradition of Quentin Skinner: the book is rich in intellectual history and context. The flipside is that virtually no attempt is made to rationally reconstruct ideas, or even to explain the technicalities of Pigou’s theoretical cont...
Article
Full-text available
Loneliness and alienation are central themes in the work of French novelist Michel Houellebecq. His works Whatever (1998) and The Possibility of an Island (2004, hereafter TPI), which will be our central focus here, explore the extent to which man can be an island, or indeed is made into an island by modern society. The protagonists of his novels a...
Article
Full-text available
This paper argues that Schumpeter's 1911 edition of 'Theory of Economic Development' can be fruitfully read as a theory of the avant-garde, in line with such theories developed by artistic avant-garde around the same time, in particular by the Italian Futurists. In particular it will show that both Schumpeter and other avant-garde theorists sought...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter demonstrates the way in which an economic rationality of state support for the arts was developed in the 1970s and 1980s by analyzing three crucial debates between economists of the arts and others. The chapter demonstrates that the economists of the arts sought to provide a more solid foundation for specific state policies directed at...
Article
This article analyzes the role of awards as quality signals in the book industry. Drawing on a novel dataset of book awards, it examines the level of consensus between expert juries (as measured by awards and nominations), active consumption (as measured by consumer ratings), passive consumption (as measured by sales), and long-term consecration (a...
Chapter
Whenever agents choose A instead of B, B instead of C, and C instead of A, a logical contradiction arises. This contradiction – also known as a value anomaly – characterizes genuine choices. Some organizations and firms, but also legal systems, markets, or even the human brain can be regarded as complex systems that manage the value anomaly by oper...
Article
Full-text available
The work of the French novelist is controversial due to reoccurring racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic elements in his work. In his writing he represents contemporary western society in all its ugliness, focusing on elements of consumerism, capitalism, and secular society. In so doing, Houellebecq touches topics which are at the heart of social s...
Article
Full-text available
In this article the notion of exemplars is developed to study valuation processes. It argues that exemplary goods are an important "judgment device" on markets of singular goods, which has so far been ignored in the literature. The article draws on Hannah Arendt's theory of exemplars, as well as literature from the philosophy of science and psychol...
Chapter
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This chapter argues that the art of phronesis is central to doing the right thing as an economist. Phronesis, or practical wisdom, is what we practice when we deliberate, weigh values, take into account our feelings and those of others, consider the circumstances, and grope for the right thing to do. Central to phronesis is figuring out the goods t...
Article
Full-text available
This is the first-ever English translation of an 1891 essay by Carl Menger published in the most important newspaper of the Habsburg Empire, the Neue Freie Presse. Menger writes the piece as a defense of classical political economy in general and of Adam Smith in particular, focusing on misinterpretations of Smith’s work by the Younger Historical S...
Article
This paper offers an alternative to existing economic theories of goods, which conceptualize goods as bundles of objective characteristics. We present two cases of Starbucks and Disraeli (1929 film) to show that relevant qualities of goods – along with costs and prices – emerge from the process of economic competition. The properties or characteris...
Article
Full-text available
This is the first-ever English translation of an 1891 essay by Carl Menger published in the most important newspaper of the Habsburg Empire, the Neue Freie Presse. Menger writes the piece as a defense of classical political economy in general and of Adam Smith in particular, focusing on misinterpretations of Smith’s work by the Younger Historical S...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper develops an alternative view of corporatism. The dominant view of corporatism, as espoused by Edmund Phelps in his recent book Mass Flourishing, views corporatism as an advanced form of state capture. The alternative view developed here instead argues that corporatist institutional arrangements are aimed at curbing special interests. Cor...
Article
In this chapter it is argued that when the Austrian revival takes place in the 1970s and 1980s the image of economics as an analytical science which can be methodologically kept clean from value judgments, and the economist as a pure truth-seeker shapes modern Austrian economics at the expense of an idea of a socially involved, embedded scholar wit...
Article
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Market exchanges are widely believed to rely on an overlap of interest, this paper argues that many market exchanges actually rely on a broader agreement between buyer and seller. The broader agreement includes the moral justification of the exchange and the associated norms of propriety. To arrive at this broader agreement markets rely on systems...
Research
Full-text available
In this article the notion of exemplary validity is developed to study the coordination of markets for singular cultural goods. Exemplars are unique goods that become focal points in markets by which market coordination occurs in markets for singular goods. From these exemplars norms of quality emerge which are otherwise hard or impossible to expli...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper analyzes the work of Wilhelm Röpke, Friedrich Hayek and Bertrand de Jouvenel in the years leading up to, during and following WWII. It argues that these three political-economic thinkers all went through a period of despair about the fate of Europe and its civilization. This despair was accompanied by a sense that the forces of history w...
Article
Full-text available
Recently a number of scholars, including Tony Judt and Corey Robin, have attempted to discredit Austrian economics by emphasizing the (cultural) distance between the context in which the Austrians made their contributions and our current society. This article argues that the cultural and social context is indeed relevant for how we understand the c...
Article
Full-text available
This article examines the intellectual scenery of interwar Vienna. It argues that its central institution was not academia, but rather the circles (‘Kreise’). The prominence of these circles can partly account for the creative outburst in the social sciences in interwar Vienna. The article also helps to explain the peculiar character of the knowled...
Thesis
Full-text available
markdownabstract__Nederlandse Samenvatting__ De markt is bij uitstek de plek waar het individu vrij kan zijn. Dat is ook het standaardbeeld van het gedachtegoed van de Oostenrijkse School van de Economie. In zijn dissertatie ‘The Viennese students of Civilization: Humility, Culture and Economics in Interwar Vienna and Beyond’ betoogt Erwin Dekker...
Article
For more than a century, the economics profession has extended its reach to encompass policy formation and institutional design while largely ignoring the ethical challenges that attend the profession’s influence over the lives of others. Economists have proved to be disinterested in ethics, which, embracing emotivism, they often treat as a matter...
Article
Full-text available
This paper analyzes the verdicts of various film organizations that annually present awards to motion pictures and investigates whether they award/nominate the same movies in a given year. This research disputes previous findings which reported a high level of agreement between those juries, by the means of reliability analysis and the Cronbach's A...
Article
Full-text available
The chapter 'The Intellectual Networks of Otto Neurath' examines the intellectual exchanges of Otto Neurath during the interwar period. Otto Neurath, leftist member of the Wiener Kreis, operated in the spaces between coffeehouse and academia. In Vienna these spaces were formal institutions occupied primarily by various informal intellectual circles...

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Projects (6)
Project
An intellectual biography of Jan Tinbergen, Dutch Nobel Laureate in economics in 1969. Pioneer in macro-econometric modelling, development economics, socialist, and peace activist.
Project
The paper explores the genesis of the concept of ecological rationality, a term coined by Gerd Gigerenzer and used by Vernon Smith and other behavioural and experimental economists as an alternative to bounded rationality. Furthermore, it aims to show that modern usages of the term ecological rationality primarily derive from a particular psychological tradition, which focuses on the way in which the individual mind is adapted to its environment, rather than the way in which environment (the ecology) affects the rationality or the efficiency of the outcomes. It suggests instead that rationality is an outcome from interactions between actors and the environment, in which both the (adaptive) capacities of the actor and the (institutional) structure of the environment are important.