When actors comply: Monitoring costs and the production of social order

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Both sociologists and rational choice theorists have been concerned with the production of social order Rational choice theorists argue that sanctions are necessary and sufficient causes of social order, but since it is costly to provide them, the attainment of social order is problematic Sociologists are more optimistic about the prospects of attaining social order because, in addition to sanctions, they countenance internalized controls as potential causes. This paper demonstrates that social order is even more difficult to explain from rational choice premises than is usually appreciated. This is because the cost of providing sanctions is far from the only relevant mon itoring cost that is implied by rational choice reasoning. The argument is principally illustrated by examples drawn from the history of capitalist industrial management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-183
Number of pages23
JournalActa Sociologica
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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