University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181–186
Number of pages6
JournalHistory of Political Economy
Early online date10 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


Massimiliano Vatiero’s "The Theory of Transaction in Institutional Economics: A History" is not a historiographical reconstruction of how various institutionalists came to define the transaction as the legal transfer of property or control rights over resources. Instead, the book expands on Vatiero’s recent proposal for a research agenda in institutional economics to offer a synthetic theoretical account of the multi-dimensional nature of the transaction. One might have expected such an account to be readily available, given extensive work on the topic by Oliver Williamson and others (not to mention several Nobel nods), but Vatiero provocatively argues that we still do not know enough about how a transaction works. If institutional economics is to advance, Vatiero explains, it must go back to the past and reconsider the original notion of the transaction proposed by John R. Commons.


© 2022 Duke University Press. This is the accepted manuscript version of an article which has been published in final form at

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