Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-7ccbd9845f-s2vjv Total loading time: 0.523 Render date: 2023-01-29T08:56:43.377Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Chronic Instability and the Limits of Path Dependence

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 December 2015

Abstract

Historical institutionalism challenged older forms of comparative historical analysis by moving away from purely structural explanations of historical outcomes. Instead it posited that there were critical junctures in which actors chose between institutional alternatives, which in turn led to path dependence. I examine a phenomenon neglected both by historical institutionalism and older forms of historical analysis—chronic instability. Instead of institutional lock-in, some junctures lead to periods of instability in which a series of regimes replace each other in rapid succession. Three different causal mechanisms that routinely contribute to chronic instability—external shocks, changing configurations of actors, and disjuncture between the logic of change and mechanisms of reproduction—are explored in depth. The plausibility of the theory is illustrated by an examination of regime instability in Germany from the collapse of the Empire in 1918 through the founding of the Federal Republic in 1949.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © American Political Science Association 2015 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Acemoglu, Daron and Robinson, James. 2006. Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Barth, Fredrik. 1969. Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: The Social Organization of Cultural Difference. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.Google Scholar
Benz, Wolfgang and Graml, Hermann. 1988. Biographisches Lexikon zur Weimarer Republik. Munich: C.H. Beck Verlag.Google Scholar
Bermeo, Nancy. 2003. Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times: The Citizenry and the Breakdown of Democracy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Bernhard, Michael. 2001. “Democratization in Germany: A Reappraisal.” Comparative Politics 33(4): 379400.10.2307/422440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bernhard, Michael. 2005. Institutions and the Fate of Democracy: Germany and Poland in the Twentieth Century. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press.10.2307/j.ctt5hjrk1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Boix, Carles. 2003. Democracy and Redistribution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511804960CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Boix, Carles. 2011. “Democracy, Development and the International System.” American Political Science Review 105(4): 809–28.10.1017/S0003055411000402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Campbell, Andrea Louise. 2012. “Policy Makes Mass Politics.” Annual Review of Political Science 15: 333–51.10.1146/annurev-polisci-012610-135202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Capoccia, Giovanni. 2005. Defending Democracy: Reactions to Extremism in Interwar Europe. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
Capoccia, Giovanni and Kelemen, Daniel R.. 2007. “The Study of Critical Junctures: Theory, Narrative, and Counterfactuals in Historical Institutionalism.” World Politics 59(3): 341–69.10.1017/S0043887100020852CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Capoccia, Giovanni and Ziblatt, Daniel. 2010. “The Historical Turn in Democratization Studies: A New Research Agenda for Europe and Beyond.” Comparative Political Studies 43(8/9): 931–68.10.1177/0010414010370431CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cary, Noel. 1996. The Path to Christian Democracy: German Catholics and the Party System from Windthorst to Adenauer. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.10.4159/harvard.9780674419032CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chalmers, Douglas. 1977. “The Politicized State in Latin America.” In Authoritarianism and Corporatism in Latin America, ed. Malloy, James.. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
Collier, Ruth Berins and Collier, David. 1991. Shaping the Political Arena: Critical Junctures, the Labor Movement, and Regime Dynamics in Latin America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Douglas, Mary. 1986. How Institutions Think. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.Google Scholar
Downing, Brian. 199). The Military Revolution and Political Change: Origins of Democracy and Autocracy in Early Modern Europe. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Eckstein, Harry. 1975. “Case Studies and Theory in Political Science.” In Handbook of Political Science, vol.7, ed. Greenstein, Fred, and Polsby, Nelson. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
Elias, Norbert. 1996. “Civilization and Violence: On the State Monopoly of Physcial Violence and Its Transgression.” In The Germans, Norbert Elias. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
Ertmann, Thomas. 2015. “Liberalization and Democratization in 19th and Early 20th Century Spain: Illusion or Reality?” Paper presented at the 22nd International Conference of Europeanists, the Council for European Studies, Paris, July 8–10, 2015.Google Scholar
Gerschenkron, Alexander. 1989. Bread and Democracy in Germany. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Gould, Stephen Jay and Eldredge, Niles. 1977. “Punctuated Equilibria: The Tempo and Mode of Evolution Reconsidered.” Paleobiology 3(2): 115–51.10.1017/S0094837300005224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Greif, Avner and Laitin, David D.. 2004. “A Theory of Endogenous Institutional Change.” American Political Science Review 98(4): 633–52.10.1017/S0003055404041395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Grzymala-Busse, Anna. 2002. Redeeming the Communist Past. New York: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511613388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hall, Peter. 2010a. “Historical Institutionalism in Rationalist and Sociological Perspective.” In Explaining Institutional Change: Ambiguity, Agency, and Power, ed. Mahoney, James. and Thelen, Kathleen. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Hall, Peter. 2010b. “Politics as a Process Structured in Space and Time.” Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington DC, September 4. Available at SSRN, http://ssrn.com/abstract=1642897.Google Scholar
Hanson, Stephen. 2010. Post-Imperial Democracies: Ideology and Party Formation in Third Republic France, Weimar Germany, and Post-Soviet Russia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511781391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Huntington, Samuel P. 1991. The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.Google Scholar
Katznelson, Ira. 2003. “Periodization and Preferences: Reflections on Purposive Action in Comparative Historial Social Science.” In Comparative Historical Analysis in the Social Sciences, ed. Rueschemeyer, Dietrich and Mahoney, James. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Kopstein, Jeffrey and Wittenberg, Jason. 2010. “Beyond Dictatorship and Democracy: Rethinking Minority Inclusion and Regime Type in Interwar Eastern Europe.” Comparative Political Studies 43(8): 1089–118.10.1177/0010414010370437CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Krasner, Stephen D. 1984. “Approaches to the State: Alternative Conceptions and Historical Dynamics.” Comparative Politics 16(2): 223–46.10.2307/421608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Levitsky, Steven and Murillo, Maria Victoria. 2014. “Building Institutions on Weak Foundations.” In Reflections on Uneven Democracies: The Legacy of Guillermo O’Donnell, ed. Brinks, Daniel, Leiras, Marcelo, and Mainwaring, Scott. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
Levy, Jack. 2008. “Case Studies: Types, Designs, and Logics of Inference.” Conflict Management and Peace Science 25: 118.10.1080/07388940701860318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Linz, Juan. 1978. The Breakdown of Democratic Regimes: Crisis, Breakdown and Reequilibration. Baltimore. MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
Luebbert, Gregory M. 1991. Liberalism, Fascism, or Social Democracy: Social Classes and the Political Origns of Regimes in Interwar Europe. New York: Oxford.Google Scholar
Mahoney, James. 2000. “Path Dependence in Historical Sociology.” Theory and Society 29(4): 507–48.10.1023/A:1007113830879CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mahoney, James. 2002. The Legacies of Liberalism: Path Dependence and Political Regimes in Central America. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
Mahoney, James and Thelen, Kathleen. 2010. “A Theory of Gradual Institutional Change.” In Explaining Institutional Change: Ambiguity, Agency, and Power, ed. Mahoney, James and Thelen, Kathleen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Moore, Barrington. 1966. Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy. Boston: Beacon.Google Scholar
North, Douglas. 1990. Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511808678CrossRefGoogle Scholar
O'Donnell, Guillermo. 1973. Modernization and Bureaucratic Authoritarianism: Studies in South American Politics. Berkeley, CA: Institute of International Studies.Google Scholar
Onoma, Ato Kwamena. 2010. “The Contradictory Potential of Institutions: The Rise and Decline of Land Documentation in Kenya.” In Explaining Institutional Change: Ambiguity, Agency, and Power, ed. Mahoney, James, and Thelen, Kathleen. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Ostrom, Elinor. 1990. Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. New York: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511807763CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pierson, Paul. 1994. Dismantling the Welfare State? Reagan, Thatcher and the Politics of Retrenchment. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511805288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pierson, Paul. 2004. Politics in Time. Princeton, NJ: Princeton.10.1515/9781400841080CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Przeworski, Adam. 1991. Democracy and the Market. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9781139172493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Przeworski, Adam and Limongi, Fernando. 1997. “Modernization: Theories and Facts.” World Politics 49(2): 155–83.10.1353/wp.1997.0004CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Puddington, Arch. 2015. “Discarding Democracy: A Return to the Iron Fist.” Freedom in the World 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2015 from www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/freedom-world-2015.Google Scholar
Rossiter, Clinton. 1948. Constitutional Dictatorship : Crisis Government in the Modern Democracies. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Rueschemeyer, Dietrich, Stephens, John, and Stephens, Evelyne Huber. 1992. Capitalist Development and Democracy. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Sewell, William H. 1992. “A Theory of Structure: Duality, Agency and Transformation. American Journal of Sociology 98(1): 129.10.1086/229967CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Skach, Cindy. 2005. Borrowing Constitutional Designs: Constitutional Law in Weimar Germany and the French Fifth Republic. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Skocpol, Theda. 1979. States and Social Revolutions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511815805CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Slater, Dan. 2010. “Altering Authoritarianism: Institutional Complexity and Autocratic Agency in Indonesia.” In Explaining Insitutional Chage: Ambiguity, Agency, and Power, ed. Thelen, Kathleen and Mahoney, James. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Slater, Dan and Simons, Erica. 2010. “Informative Regress: Critical Antecedents in Comparative Politics.” Comparative Political Studies 43(7): 886917.10.1177/0010414010361343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Soiffer, Hillel. 2012. “The Causal Logic of Critical Junctures.” Comparative Political Studies 45(12): 1572–97.10.1177/0010414012463902CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Steinmo, Sven. 2010. The Evolution of Modern States. New York: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511762185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Streeck, Wolfgang and Thelen, Kathleen. 2005. “Introduction: Institutional Change in Advanced Political Economies.” In Beyond Continuity: Institutional Change in Advanced Political Economies, ed. Streeck, Wolfgan. and Thelen, Kathleen. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Thelen, Kathleen. 2003. “How Institutions Evolve: Insights from Comparative Historical Analysis.” In Comparative Historical Analysis in the Social Sciences, ed. Mahoney, James. and Rueschemeyer, Dietrich. Cambridge: Cambridte University Press.Google Scholar
Thelen, Kathleen. 2004. How Institutions Evolve: The Political Economy of Skills in Germany, Britain, the United States, and Japan. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511790997CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Thelen, Kathleen. 2014. Varieties of Liberalization and the New Politics of Social Solidarity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9781107282001CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Thelen, Kathleen and Steinmo, Sven. 1992. “Historical Institutionalism in Comparative Politics.” In Structuring Politics: Historical Institutionalism in Comparative Analysis, ed. Steinmo, Sven, Thelen, Kathleen., and Longstreth, Frank. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Tilly, Charles. 2001. “Mechanisms in Political Process.” Annual Review of Political Science 4: 2141.10.1146/annurev.polisci.4.1.21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tooze, Adam. 2014. The Deluge: The Great War, America, and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916–1931. New York: Viking.Google Scholar
Tsebelis, George. 2002. Veto Players: How Political Institutions Work. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.10.1515/9781400831456CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Valenzuela, Arturo. 1978. The Breakdown of Democratic Regimes: Chile. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
Weber, Max. 1946. “Capitalism and Rural Society in Germany.” In From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, ed. Gerth, Hans H. and Wright Mills, C.. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Weber, Max. 1978. Economy and Society. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Weingast, Barrry R. and Marshall, William J.. 1998. “The Industrial Organization of Congress; or, Why Legislatures, Like Firms, Are Not Organized as Markets.” Journal of Political Economy 96(1): 132–63.10.1086/261528CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Weyland, Kurt. 2009. “The Diffusion of Revolution: ‘1848’ in Europe and Latin America.” International Organization 63(3): 391423.10.1017/S0020818309090146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Winkler, Heinrich August. 1993. Weimar 1916–1933: Die Geschichte der ersten deutschen Demokratie. Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck.Google Scholar
Ziblatt, Daniel. 2008. “Does Landholding Inequality Block Democratization? A Test of the ‘Bread and Democracy’ Thesis and the Case of Prussia.” World Politics 60(4): 610–41.10.1353/wp.0.0021CrossRefGoogle Scholar
12
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Chronic Instability and the Limits of Path Dependence
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Chronic Instability and the Limits of Path Dependence
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Chronic Instability and the Limits of Path Dependence
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *