The SAGE Handbook of Comparative Politics presents in one volume an authoritative overview of the theoretical, methodological, and substantive elements of comparative political science. The 28 specially commissioned chapters, written by renowned comparative scholars, guide the reader through the central issues and debates, presenting a state-of-the-art guide to the past, present, and possible futures of the field.

Comparative Institutional Analysis

Comparative institutional analysis
Vivien A.Schmidt1

Introduction

In recent years, the ‘new institutionalism’ has become central to the methodological debates in political science. What political scientists mean by new institutionalism, however, beyond the basic tenet that political institutions are key to the study of political action, is often very different. There are, in fact, a variety of ‘new institutionalisms’ which focus on different objects of study, with different logics of explanation, and with very different ways of conceptualizing not just institutions but also interests, causes, norms, and ideas. Such differing institutionalisms also deal with the question of institutional change in very different ways. It is only very recently, moreover, that scholars within the different institutionalisms have made serious attempts to bridge these differences, mainly on the ...

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