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What is evolutionary theory and how does it inform policy studies?

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The term 'evolution' is used loosely in the policy literature and its meaning is frequently unclear. This article injects clarity into debates of evolution and establishes its ability to describe and explain policy change. It has four main aims. First, it identifies the explicit and implicit uses of evolutionary theory in policy studies. Second, it considers how such accounts relate to each other and the wider literature on public policy. Third, it identifies the causal mechanisms involved in evolutionary accounts. Finally, it considers how to translate abstract theory into a more concrete set of methods and plans for empirical research.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 2013

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