Department of Political Science

Strategic Action in Institutional Change: Layering, Conversion and Architectural Policy Design

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch

  • Philipp Pechmann
This paper theorizes different types of strategic action in order to better understand and explain how institutional and policy change comes about and how single events in gradual change processes are causally connected. It conceptualizes situational change strategies which are favored in contexts configured along two dimensions identified in the literature: the level of veto barriers in the political environment, and the level of institutional discretion in rule interpretation and enforcement. More specifically, it suggests a conceptual merging of modes of institutional change like layering and conversion with elements of architectural policy design such as the compartmentalization of resource flows, the creation of reporting mechanisms, or the judicialization and professionalization of institutions. The benefits of this approach are threefold: First, it advances the gradual change literature by providing more well-grounded concepts of layering and conversion by underpinning them with policy design elements. Second, it highlights the analytical centrality of strategic action in institutional change processes that helps us to understand and explain better how institutional change unfolds. Third, emphasizing the power and behavioral implications of different change strategies, it adds a “forward-looking” perspective on agency to the field that enables us to causally link to each other the single change events within causally connected policy sequences.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventAnnual meeting of the Danish Political Science Association (DPSA) - Kolding, Kolding, Denmark
Duration: 29 Oct 201530 Oct 2015


ConferenceAnnual meeting of the Danish Political Science Association (DPSA)

    Research areas

  • Institutional Change, Strategic Action, Layering, Conversion, Policy design, Public Policy, Institutional Theory, institutionalism

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