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Transitions: An Institutionalist Perspective


  • Parto, Saeed



A transition to a new technological regime is complete (and stable) when accompanied with a co-stabilization between the mode of regulation and the regime of accumulation. Key to understanding the dynamics of transitions are the factors, including institutions, that “regulate” and stabilize the regime of accumulation over time. However, the available frameworks for institutional analysis employ arbitrary and narrow definition of institutions, focus mainly on the policy domain, and do not pay sufficient attention to the evolutionary characteristics of change as manifested in emergence of numerous institutions that underlie transitions. This paper consists of three parts. The first part critically reviews and synthesizes some of the main approaches for conducting institutional analysis. The second part rearticulates the concept of “transitions”, or technological regime shifts, from a systems perspective to make a case for investigating transitions as multi-level, multi-scale, and multi-system phenomena best understood in their institutional contexts. The third part proposes a framework for examining institutional change and demonstrates how this framework may be used to identify the key factors and conditions whose convergence might result in transitions in a given subsystem. Examples are drawn from the Dutch waste management subsystem to demonstrate how this framework should be operationalized.

Suggested Citation

  • Parto, Saeed, 2003. "Transitions: An Institutionalist Perspective," Research Memorandum 021, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:umamer:2003021

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Parto, Saeed, 2003. "Sustainability and the Local Scale: Squaring the Peg?," Research Memorandum 019, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    2. F. Gregory Hayden & Kurt Stephenson, 1992. "Overlap of Organizations: Corporate Transorganization and Veblen’s Thesis on Higher Education," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(1), pages 53-85, March.
    3. Parto, Saeed & Doloreux, David, 2003. "Public Policy and Sustainable Development: Agenda (21) for Change?," Research Memorandum 020, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
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    Cited by:

    1. Parto, Saeed & Doloreux, David, 2004. "Regional Innovation Systems: A Critical Synthesis," UNU-INTECH Discussion Paper Series 2004-17, United Nations University - INTECH.

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