A discursive institutionalist approach to understanding policy change: Ireland and Mexico in the 1980s

John Hogan, Brendan K O'Rourke


Employing the critical juncture theory (CJT), a discursive institutionalist approach, this paper examines the nature of the changes to Irish industrial policy, and Mexican macroeconomic policy, during early the 1980s.  Did these policy changes constitute transformations, or were they simply continuations of previously established policy pathways?  The CJT consists of three elements – economic crisis, ideational change, and the nature of the policy change – that must be identified for us to be able to declare with some certainty if the policy changes constituted critical junctures.  Our findings will help explain why Irish industrial policy did not undergo a radical transformation during the 1980s, while Mexican macroeconomic policy underwent major change in that decade.  


policy change; critical juncture


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