Table 1. Typology of possible explanations for institutional change


Utilitarian explanation
Functional explanation
Power explanation
Legitimation explanation
Mechanism of genesis
Institution is established to minimize transaction costs
Institution is crafted in order to overcome collective action problems
Institution is established out of political conflict and strategic bargaining
Institution is constructed based on a social definition of reality
Mechanism of reproduction
Institution is reproduced through the rational cost–benefit assessments of actors
Institution is reproduced because it serves a function for an overall system
Institution is reproduced because it is supported by an elite group of actors
Institution is reproduced because actors believe it is morally just or appropriate
Mechanism of transformation
Increased competitive pressures; learning processes
Exogenous shock that transforms system needs
Weakening of elites and strengthening of subordinate groups
Changes in the values or subjective beliefs of actors
Adapted from Mahoney (2000).