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This page contains explanations to general questions researchers or practitioners might have when they encounter the Institutional Grammar in the first place, but further extend to questions related to the distinctions between the Crawford and Ostrom's Institutional Grammar, and the IG 2.0. This list is incrementally expanded based on received and observed questions or comments.

Please click on the question of interest to expand the associated response.

Why do we need an Institutional Grammar? Would basic linguistic analysis not be sufficient?

The central difference between an institutional grammar and a linguistic grammar is that the former exclusively focuses on language that reflects institutional information in the form of strategies, conventions, descriptive norms, and injunctive expressions. While the encoding using linguistic parsers bears opportunities to extract a basic structure, they inherently focus on the syntactic structure, but are rather focused on capturing syntactic style than specific institutional semantics of relevance for the analyst. While linguistic grammars are open with respect to expressive patterns, the Institutional Grammar exclusively focuses on expressions - here in stylized form - that focus on an activity in the form someone does/may do/must do (regulative expressions), or on existential characterizations in the form something is/may be/must be (constitutive expressions). In practice, these can occur in combination (hybrid statements), and be decomposed for further analysis. The statements captured in an Institutional Grammar furthermore have a fixed frame of reference in the form of the action situation. More details on the distinction between linguistic and institutional grammars are provided in Chapter 3 of the book.

What is the difference between Crawford and Ostrom's Institutional Grammar and IG 2.0?

In a nutshell, the central differences between Crawford and Ostrom's Institutional Grammar and the Institutional Grammar 2.0 are the following:

  • Conditions component: Crawford and Ostrom's grammar considers a single Conditions component that reflects the contextual embedding of institutional statements, whereas the IG 2.0 distinguishes between activation conditions (roughly corresponding to preconditions) for a given statement to apply, and execution constraints that qualify the execution of a particular activity (see Chapters 3 (Section 3.1) and Chapter 4 (Section of the book).

  • Statement types: Crawford and Ostrom's grammar exclusively focuses on the syntactic representation of regulative statements, whereas IG 2.0 refines the regulative syntax and further introduces a syntax for constitutive statements, alongside the notion of combinations thereof (hybrid institutional statements). See Chapter 4, Sections 4.2.3 and 4.2.6, of the book for further details.

  • Institution types: In Crawford and Ostrom's institutional grammar, the characterization of institution types primarily orients on syntactic features of a given institutional statements, whereas IG 2.0 orients on the semantics of the institution (e.g., process from which institution originates), while allowing for syntactically equivalent representation of norms and rules. The same principle equally applies for regulative and constitutive statements in IG 2.0 (see Chapter 4 of the book).

  • Levels of Expressiveness: Based on the levels of expressiveness, IG 2.0 includes additional features that can extract institutional information at greater, and configurable, level of detail -- IG Extended to engage in deep structural parsing, and IG Logico to engage in semantic analysis. The particular choice and configuration of features is guided by analytical needs and applied techniques (discussed in the IG 2.0 Codebook as well as Chapter 4 and 8 of the book).

  • Backward compatibility: While both variants of the institutional grammar are different, IG 2.0 is inherently backward-compatible, i.e., by removing additional features such as constitutive statements, higher levels of expressiveness, IG Core-encoded institutional statements can be collapsed into the more coarse-grained structure of the original IG (combining activation conditions and execution constraints, combining nested structures into single expression).

If you have general questions related to the IG (or ones you would like to see answered in the FAQ), please share those with us under [email protected].