Small, slow, and gradual reform: What can historical institutionalism teach us?
In this article, the issue of "small, slow and gradual reform" is explored, particularly from the perspective of "historical institutionalism." Historically grown and solidified institutions explain why change usually is only small, slow, and gradual. We have a closer look at the political science theory of historical institutionalism. After considering key-concepts of historical institutionalism such as "path dependency" and "punctuated equilibrium," we look at recent developments of typologies of incremental, gradual transformations. Elaborating upon this typology we develop a conceptual framework of various and varying types of change. The descriptive validity of this framework is "tested" by offering empirical illustrations in three case studies of changes that have occurred in and around the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture.