SIOE was originally founded as The International Society for New Institutional Economics in 1997, shortly after the first ISNIE conference in September 1997 at Washington University in Saint Louis. The purpose of the Society was to promote rigorous theoretical and empirical investigation of the institutions of social, political and commercial life using approaches drawn from economics, organization theory, law, political science, and other social sciences. The Society was from its inception international in outlook and membership. Among its founders and early presidents were three winners of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences: Ronald Coase, Douglass North, and Oliver Williamson. Along with Lee Benham, John Drobak, Claude Ménard, and Mary Shirley, Alexandra Benham was instrumental in getting the Society up and running, and in that connection she prepared the ISNIE newsletter, which was published from 1998 to 2003 and the issues of which are archived below as a valuable resource for the history of our organization and the field.

Background material from early key members

Claude Ménard and Mary Shirley wrote about the history of the Society. Here is an interview with Ronald Coase on the eve of the conference. In the twenty years since both the Society and the field have greatly expanded and changed in important ways. The importance of institutions and organizations is widely recognized and appreciated in mainstream economics and the interactions among economics, law, organization theory, political science, and other fields are deeper and more complex than ever before. For some of its adherents, the "New Institutional Economics" is now more-or-less mainstream economics, and hence more an applied field than a new way to do economics. For others, however, the task of "revolutionizing economics" -- a term favored by Coase -- is far from finished. Peter Klein described his thoughts on the early days of ISNIE, and Oliver Williamson's classical article was taking stock in the year 2000.

ISNIE Newsletters 1998-2003

Created and produced by Alexandra Benham, editor

Copyrighted material appears by permission of the copyright holders.
Oliver Williamson, "The New Institutional Economics: Taking Stock, Looking Ahead," (Vol. 2, No. 2) was subsequently published by the Journal of Economic Literature, vol. 38 (September, 2000), pp. 595-613 and appears here by permission of the American Economic Association.