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Journal Article

Policy Paradigm Modes: Explaining USA Antitrust Law Changes in the 1970s


Arslan,  Melike       
Wirtschaftssoziologie, MPI for the Study of Societies, Max Planck Society;

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Arslan, M. (2023). Policy Paradigm Modes: Explaining USA Antitrust Law Changes in the 1970s. Journal of Public Policy, 43(4), 681-703. doi:10.1017/S0143814X23000193.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000D-A600-7
This article advances the theory of policy paradigms by investigating when paradigms are rigid, constraining alternative perspectives and policy options, and when instead they are more flexible, allowing actors to overcome paradigmatic restrictions and differences. Departing from the existing theories on policy paradigms, I conceptualize paradigm rigidity and flexibility as characteristics that develop endogenously within the policy-making process, shaped by the types of policy changes that are proposed and discussed and by the types of framing strategies policy actors employ to support their proposals. Policy paradigms can therefore have both rigid and flexible modes within the same policy area and in the same period. Conceiving paradigms in modes helps us better understand how policies change when there are competing paradigms and exogenous crises. I illustrate this empirically with an analysis of the debates surrounding four antitrust (competition) policy change proposals in the USA during the 1970s.