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Jean-Claude Thoenig

In: Handbook of Public Administration

Chapter 10: Institutional Theories and Public Institutions: Traditions and Appropriateness

Edited by: B. Guy Peters & Jon Pierre

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781848608214.n11

Subject: Public Administration (general)

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Institutional Theories and Public Institutions: Traditions and Appropriateness
Institutional theories and public institutions: Traditions and appropriateness
Old Institutionalism: A Pre-Scientific Perspective

More than a dozen schools of thought deal with public institutions (Peters, 1998). The present chapter presents in detail four of such streams: historical institutionalism, sociological institutionalism, new institutionalism and local order institutionalism. Each develops a set of theoretical interpretations which are empirically grounded. Together, they also cover major facets of what institutionalization processes are. Political and administrative machineries experience path dependencies. They are embedded in societal environments. They function like specific social systems. They produce social norms and cognitive references.

Up to the late 1960s, rather formal-legal approaches had been dominating the discipline: public administration theory in the United States, administrative science in European countries influenced ...

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