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Brazilian Political Science Review (Online)

On-line version ISSN 1981-3821

Abstract

PRACA, Sérgio. Preference formation and institutional change. Braz. political sci. rev. (Online) [online]. 2009, vol.4Selected edition, pp. 0-0. ISSN 1981-3821.

This essay critically analyses how historical institutionalists and rational choice scholars study institutional stability and change. Special attention is paid to the thorny issue of how political actors' preferences are formed, with historical institutionalists considering preferences as endogenously formed, and rational choice analysts postulating that preferences are fixed and exogenous. An argument is made in favour of the perspective that considers preferences as being formed within the functioning of the political system over time, endogenously. The essay also proposes the incorporation of ideas and non-decisions as tools to elucidate processes of change.

Keywords : Neo-institutionalism; Rational choice; Historical institutionalism; Political preference; Institutional change.

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