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Elite support for constitutional reform in the Netherlands

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Explaining endogenous institutional change is not the strongest point of neo-institutionalist theory, and various strands of new institutionalism offer different explanations. This paper contributes to this literature by focusing on the attitudes of (Dutch) legislators to political reform: they are able to bring about endogenous institutional change, and by learning more about their attitudes we can better understand when and why institutional change occurs. Using the Dutch Parliamentary Study of 1990 and, primarily, of 2006, it is shown that ideology has substantial explanatory power, as predicted by sociological institutionalism. However, overall explanatory power increases substantially when variables such as party size, which fit better in a rational-choice institutionalist model, are added. Furthermore, the greater support for reforms in 2006 compared to 1990 could be the result of a critical juncture (the end of the Cold War) as predicted by historical institutionalism. These findings support those scholars who argue that these three instituionalist approaches are complementary rather than competing.Acta Politica (2009) 44, 314–336. doi:10.1057/ap.2009.8
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: aDepartment of Political Science, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9555, RB Leiden 2300, The Netherlands., Email:

Publication date: 2009-07-01

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