Institutional Bricolage in Times of Crisis

Martin B. Carstensen

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    How may we understand the occurrence of gradual but significant change following economic crisis? Theories of gradual institutional transformation offer important insights to analyses of long-term institutional change, but have so far shied away from dealing with institutional change during and following crisis, leaving the issue to more traditional critical juncture models. Instead of seeing gradual institutional change originating only in the efforts of rule takers to circumvent existing institutions – potentially leading to gradual change over longer periods of time – the paper suggests that in more abrupt processes of change characteristic of economic crisis, rule makers may also reinterpret the meaning of rules and redeploy them under significantly altered circumstances leading to gradual change. The paper suggests that the concept of bricolage is useful for understanding how policymakers create new institutional setups through the re-ordering of existing institutional elements. The empirical relevance of these arguments is demonstrated with a study of post-crisis special bank insolvency policies in Denmark and the United States, showing how in both polities new institutions were created from existing institutional elements.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEuropean Political Science Review
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)139-160
    Number of pages22
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017

    Bibliographical note

    Published online: 28. September 2015


    • Institutional change
    • Gradual transformation
    • Bricolage
    • Crisis
    • Financial regulation

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