Media as a Mechanism of Institutional Change and Reinforcement
We argue that mass media is a mechanism of institutional evolution and identify three important effects media has on institutions. The 'gradual effect' involves media contributing to marginal changes in existing institutions. The 'punctuation effect' involves media catalyzing rapid institutional overhaul. The 'reinforcement effect' involves media contributing to the durability and sustainability of punctuated institutional equilibria. Our analysis identifies a paradoxical relationship between mass media and institutions wherein media both changes and reinforces existing institutions. This finding resolves a tension in the institutional literature that defines institutions by their durability but recognizes we observe (sometimes rapid and radical) institutional change. Case studies from the collapse of communism in Poland and Russia illustrate our argument. Copyright 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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Volume (Year): 62 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (02)
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