Institutions and Agricultural Economics: a theoretical framework from Evolutionary Institutionalism
This paper aims to present central concepts of Evolutionary Institutionalism and to highlight analytical elements that may be useful for studies in agricultural economics. To this end, the study carried out a literature review based on the main references of institutional and evolutionary economics. The main analytical contribution of Evolutionary Institutionalism to agricultural economics lies in understanding economic relations from the perspective of human behaviour. Individuals become central to the analysis of the rural world, since they establish habits, behaviour patterns, and rules of conduct that, when interacting collectively, produce institutions. Thus, it is from the active role of the individual that rural dynamics emerge and consolidate an institutional environment and prevailing social structures. It is possible to point out some specific themes that emerge as potential applications of this line of thought: a) the analysis of the development trajectory of and institutional changes affecting different rural sectors; b) the role of habits, traditions and behavioural trends; c) power relations in agricultural markets; d) the evaluation of public policies for agriculture; e) innovation and technology as determinants of the evolution of routines, and f) the institutions “behind” the new relations of food production and consumption.