Gorges, Michael J. (1999) “Of What Use is the New Institutionalism? An Analysis of the Institutionalization of the Social Dialogue”. In: UNSPECIFIED, Pittsburgh, PA. (Unpublished)
The inclusion in the Treaty on European Union (TEU) of the “social dialogue provisions” giving employer and trade union representatives a privileged role in the elaboration of EU social policy represents a noteworthy change in policy-making procedures in this area. This paper tests new institutionalist hypotheses on institutionalization by applying them to this change. The new institutionalist perspective fails to provide an adequate explanation of institutionalization in general, and of the institutionalization of the social dialogue in particular. By relying on such variables as “critical junctures,” “path dependency,” “leadership” or “the role of ideas,” new institutionalist analyses leave institutions behind and resort to a grab bag of explanations proponents of almost any theoretical perspective could use. One is left wondering what is new and what is institutionalist about new institutionalist explanations for institutional change and institutionalization.
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