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Working paper: The myth of institutional rigidity

I’ve just posted a short working paper on SSRN: The myth of institutional rigidity.  Comments would be very much appreciated.  Abstract follows:

Institutions change slowly. This simple proposition is widely accepted among academics who specialize in the study of public institutions. Indeed, it is an essential organizing principle within the area of study that is known as the new institutionalism. But this proposition is also a myth. This is not the same as asserting that it is clearly untrue. The proposition can be regarded as a myth because is broadly endorsed as an organizing principle within the field, whose accuracy is taken for granted. Indeed, it is not clear that it is possible to empirically establish the truth of the proposition. The unquestioning acceptance of this proposition has unfortunate consequences. It encourages pessimism about the capacity of democratic systems to respond competently to new problems.

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