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      The Study of Critical Junctures: Theory, Narrative, and Counterfactuals in Historical Institutionalism

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      World Politics
      Cambridge University Press (CUP)

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          Abstract

          The causal logic behind many arguments in historical institutionalism emphasizes the enduring impact of choices made during critical junctures in history. These choices close off alternative options and lead to the establishment of institutions that generate self-reinforcing path-dependent processes. Despite the theoretical and practical importance of critical junctures, however, analyses of path dependence often devote little attention to them. The article reconstructs the concept of critical junctures, delimits its range of application, and provides methodological guidance for its use in historical institutional analyses. Contingency is the key characteristic of critical junctures, and counterfactual reasoning and narrative methods are necessary to analyze contingent factors and their impact. Finally, the authors address specific issues relevant to both cross-sectional and longitudinal comparisons of critical junctures.

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          Most cited references29

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          HISTORICAL INSTITUTIONALISM IN COMPARATIVE POLITICS

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            Introduction: The International Diffusion of Liberalism

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              Paradigms and Sand Castles

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                applab
                World Politics
                World Pol.
                Cambridge University Press (CUP)
                0043-8871
                1086-3338
                April 2007
                June 2011
                : 59
                : 03
                : 341-369
                Article
                10.1017/S0043887100020852
                a029a4b6-3ff4-4e23-b9de-25b87a172539
                © 2007

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