The ‘Costs’ of Institutional Isomorphism: Science in Non-Western Countries

Yehouda A. Shenhav, David H. Kamens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The theoretical section of this paper describes three mechanisms through which science in non-Western countries is institutionalized to follow the forms that are prevalent in the major industrial nations. The empirical section, which is based on a sample of 73 less developed countries (LDCs) and underdeveloped countries (UDCs) demonstrates that the findings are inconsistent with predictions made by theories of economic development and modernization. These theories predict a positive relationship between the degree of institutionalization and economic performance, but, for LDCs we find no such relationship; for the UDCs, it is even negative. Thus we conclude that institutional isomorphism and conformity to external rational myths are loosely coupled with internal economic efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-545
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Studies of Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1991


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