A branch of the French social sciences has emerged in the 1980s, known as ‘the economics of conventions’. The term convention is introduced to subvert the utilitarianism of neo-classical economic theory. However, there is no consensual and stabilized definition of this notion. According to the investigation undertaken in this paper in order to clarify basic concepts, this term should be used for naming a research perspective. Researchers involved in ‘the economics of convention’ face two issues : the methodological issue raised by the interactions between institutions and action; the political issue raised by the assessment and the improvement of institutional measures. This article aims to show how the pragmatic philosophy of John Dewey allows for dealing with these issues.
convention, institution, action, pragmatism, Dewey
JEL Classification: A13, B41, B52, B59