Bringing ideas back in to historical institutionalism to explain endogenous institutional change

Martin B. Carstensen, Vivien Schmidt

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


    The problem of how to theorize endogenous institutional change remains the ‘holy grail’ of historical institutionalism. Particularly important advances have been made within scholarship on gradual institutional transformation th
    at has deployed concepts like institutional ambiguity and interpretation to show how actors are able to circumvent and significantly change institutions
    over the long term or even at crisis moments. Despite the centrality of interpretive processes for this line of argument, historical institutionalists
    focused on long-term institutional transformation have largely shied a
    way from employing ideas as a central explanatory analytical category. The paper suggests that to endogenize change, historical institutionalists will need to bring ideas back in, and that such engagement with ideational
    and discursive institutionalist scholarship may be particularly fruitful in
    relation to two key issues: Interpretive battles over compliance and enforcement; and the role of ideas in forming, maintaining and changing the coalitions of actors that support a specific institutional setup.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2016
    Number of pages30
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    EventAmerican Political Science Association, APSA Annual Meeting 2016 - Philadelphia, PA, United States
    Duration: 1 Sept 20164 Sept 2016


    ConferenceAmerican Political Science Association, APSA Annual Meeting 2016
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    CityPhiladelphia, PA
    Internet address

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