Invasion from within: Ideas, Power and the Transmission of Institutional Logics between Policy Domains

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How do institutional logics travel within a political economy? Employing insights from historical and ideational institutionalist theory, this article offers a novel understanding of change dynamics as driven by actors’ creation of institutional interlinkages. It develops the causal mechanism of “invasion from within,” consisting of a three-stage process: the progressive weakening of a policy paradigm within one institutional site coinciding with a strengthening of the policy paradigm in another; the building of a coalition within the exporting field; and the use of framing strategies to “localize” adjacent logics of action and delegitimize adversarial coalitions. The analytical purchase of the argument is corroborated through process tracing of the German pension paradigm shift during the 1990s, showing that ideas about private capital formation developed in finance were redirected toward old-age provision and strategically transferred to the pension arena by a coalition of actors from the German finance domain.

Original languageEnglish
JournalComparative Political Studies
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1328-1363
Number of pages36
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Financialization
  • Germany
  • ideas
  • institutions
  • pension

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