Dunning-Kruger theory of institutions

Lay theories of social mechanisms

The terrible guesses we make about how institutions work.

Placeholder. I am gathering examples of institutions that demonstrably do not work how we seem to assume, for now.



Denzau, Arthur T, and Douglass C North. 1994. “Shared Mental Models: Ideologies and Institutions.” Kyklos 47: 357–31.
Doyle, James K, Michael J Radzicki, and W Scott Trees. 1998. “Measuring Change in Mental Models of Dynamic Systems: An Exploratory Study.”
Garip, Filiz. 2020. What Failure to Predict Life Outcomes Can Teach Us.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117 (15): 8234–35.
Heck, Patrick R., Christopher F. Chabris, Duncan J. Watts, and Michelle N. Meyer. 2020. Objecting to Experiments Even While Approving of the Policies or Treatments They Compare.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117 (32): 18948–50.
Hubbard, Douglas W. 2014. How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business. 3 edition. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley.
Murphy, Ryan H. 2020. Markets Against Modernity: Ecological Irrationality, Public and Private. Capitalist Thought : Studies in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books.
Newell, Barry, and Robert Wasson. 2002. “Social System Vs Solar System: Why Policy Makers Need History.” In. Grenoble.
Reddy, Sanjay G. 2020. Population Health, Economics and Ethics in the Age of COVID-19.” BMJ Global Health 5 (7): e003259.
Richards, Diana. 2001. Coordination and Shared Mental Models.” American Journal of Political Science 45: 259–76.
Robinson, Lisa A., Ryan Sullivan, and Jason F. Shogren. 2021. Do the Benefits of COVID-19 Policies Exceed the Costs? Exploring Uncertainties in the Age–VSL Relationship.” Risk Analysis 41 (5): 761–70.
Sommers, Samuel R., and Michael I. Norton. 2006. Lay Theories About White Racists: What Constitutes Racism (and What Doesn’t).” Group Processes & Intergroup Relations 9 (1): 117–38.
Sterman, John D. 2009. Business dynamics: systems thinking and modeling for a complex world. Nachdr. Boston: Irwin/McGraw-Hill.
Sterman, John D., and Gokhan Dogan. 2015. ‘I’m Not Hoarding, I’m Just Stocking up Before the Hoarders Get Here.’: Behavioral Causes of Phantom Ordering in Supply Chains.” Journal of Operations Management 39-40 (1): 6–22.
Sterman, John D., and Linda Booth Sweeney. 2007. Understanding Public Complacency about Climate Change: Adults’ Mental Models of Climate Change Violate Conservation of Matter.” Climatic Change 80 (3-4): 213–38.
Uscinski, Joseph E., and Matthew Atkinson. 2013. Why Do People Believe in Conspiracy Theories? The Role of Informational Cues and Predispositions.” SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 2268782. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network.
Watts, Duncan J. 2011. Everything Is Obvious: Once You Know the Answer. 1st ed. New York: Crown Business.
———. 2014. Common Sense and Sociological Explanations.” American Journal of Sociology 120 (2): 313–51.
Zedelius, Claire M., Barbara C. N. Müller, and Jonathan W. Schooler. 2017. The Science of Lay Theories: How Beliefs Shape Our Cognition, Behavior, and Health. Springer.

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