The other side of agency: bricolage and institutional continuity

Martin Bæk Carstensen*, Nils Röper

*Corresponding author

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Agency has received much attention in recent historical institutionalist theorizing of change processes, but remains largely disconnected from questions about mechanisms that stabilize institutions. To help fill this lacuna, the paper presents bricolage as one key mechanism through which actors stabilize an institutional setup. It suggests that institutions may be defended by keeping intact the institutional logic on which the incumbent coalition is based, but rearrange the salience of the ideational and institutional elements that make up the existing institutional setup. The empirical relevance of the argument is supported through a case analysis of a 1980-reform that could have changed the face of German corporatism, but never was, namely the policy of collective equity funds (Tariffonds). Through process tracing, we explain the fate of the reform with the effectiveness of a last-minute intervention based on a bricolage of the extant institutional logic.
TidsskriftJournal of European Public Policy
Udgave nummer8
Sider (fra-til)1288-1308
Antal sider21
StatusUdgivet - 2022


  • Agency
  • Germany
  • bricolage
  • historical institutionalism
  • institutional stability
  • reform process

Citer dette