DOI: 10.19830/j.upi.2020.182
Taking Path Dependence Seriously: A Historical Institutionalist Research Agenda in Planning History

André Sorensen

Keywords: Historical Institutionalist; Path Dependence; Critical Junctures; Incremental Change; Planning History


This paper outlines an historical institutionalist (HI) research agenda for planning history. Historical institutionalist approaches to the understanding of institutions, path dependence, positive feedback effects in public policy, and patterned processes of institutional change offer a robust theoretical framework and a valuable set of conceptual and analytic tools for the analysis of continuity and change in public policy. Yet to date there has been no systematic effort to incorporate historical institutionalism into planning history research. The body of the paper proposes planning history relevant definitions of institutions, path dependence, critical junctures, and incremental change processes, outlines recent HI literature applying and extending these concepts, and frames a number of research questions for planning history that these approaches suggest. A concluding section explores the potential application and leverage of HI approaches to the study of planning history and international comparative planning studies, and outlines a research agenda.


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