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It is significant to recognize that an institution is regarded as a ‘set of rules’ or, otherwise stated, a series of rules. Thus, for example, a customary rule that commuters in the Beijing subway should stand on the left side of the escalator and walk on the right side if they are in a hurry is, therefore, not perceived as an institution. Contrarily, all rules that determine how people behave in the subway, including the boarding and alighting of trains, the neglect or acknowledgement of on-board beggars, and the queuing to buy tickets, is defined as an institution. P. Ho, “An Endogenous Theory of Property Rights”, Journal of Peasant Studies, 2016, 43/6, p. 1129.

Defined along these lines, a formal law or right of ownership is an institution inasmuch as informal, customary law regarding forest, fisheries or mining may be deemed an institution. In addition, one should be reminded that terms like ‘contract’ or ‘ownership’ frequently refer to (Western) conceptualizations of how institutions should appear based on certain axioms or political considerations.” See: ibid., p. 1129.

Similarly, also rural share-cropping or a federal reserve can be considered institutions in that they represent a set of rules instead of a single rule on how, respectively, peasants minimize environmental and socio-economic risk in collaborative agricultural production, and financial markets are to be regulated through interest rates, credit flows and monetary supply. In addition, their operations are also guided through (written and unwritten) internal rules varying from communication to membership, allocation and penalty.” See: ibid., pp. 1129-30

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