Officially launched in October 2013, WINIR is a global network that brings together researchers from multiple academic disciplines to study the nature, function, evolution, and impact of institutions. WINIR places institutions at the centre of its research. WINIR’s primary emphasis is on those institutions and organisations that deeply affect the production and distribution of wealth and the means of human well-being.

WINIR accommodates a broad conception of institutions as systems of functioning social rules. There are other varying definitions, but generally the idea of rules – involving rule-making and rule-following – is central. WINIR thus focuses on the making, following, contestation and evolution of social rules. Systems of rules can create regularities of behaviour, and enable, frame, constrain, expand or disrupt human cognition and action.

WINIR is devoted to the study of entities and actors including firms, states, markets, money, households, and other vital institutions and organizations that effect the production and distribution of wealth. It welcomes contributions from all academic disciplines and all schools of thought that can contribute to our understanding of these institutions and organizations.

These disciplines include anthropology, economics, geography, history, law, management, philosophy, politics, psychology and sociology. WINIR aims to create fruitful and constructive dialogue between these disciplines on institutional themes, and to try to develop a cross-disciplinary consensus on some key issues.

WINIR is also interested in the history and comparison of institutional thought, as it has evolved in different ways in several disciplines, including within the various “institutionalisms” that are found in economics, politics and sociology.

Also of vital importance are developments and comparisons of methodologies of institutional research, invoking data appraisal, historical insight, statistical technique and philosophical evaluation.

WINIR research priorities are organised into research clusters and research topics (click map to enlarge).


To advance this agenda WINIR organises conferences, workshops and hosted conference sessions around the world. Learn more about current and past events.