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A sleeping giant awakes? The rise of the institutional grammar tool (IGT) in policy research

Dunlop, CA; Kamkhaji, JC; Radaelli, CM; (2019) A sleeping giant awakes? The rise of the institutional grammar tool (IGT) in policy research. Journal of Chinese Governance , 4 (2) pp. 163-180. 10.1080/23812346.2019.1575502. Green open access

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The Institutional Grammar Tool (IGT) is an important and relatively recent innovation in policy theory and analysis. It is conceptualized to empirically operationalize the insights of the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework. In the last decade, political scientists have offered a number of applications of the IGT, mainly focused on disclosing and scrutinizing in-depth the textual configurations of policy documents. These efforts, involving micro-level analyses of syntax as well as more general classifications of institutional statements according to rule types, have underpinned empirical projects mainly in the area of environmental and common-pool resources. Applications of IGT are still in their infancy, yet the growing momentum is sufficient for us to review what has been learned so far. We take stock of this recent, fast-growing literature, analyzing a corpus of 26 empirical articles employing IGTs published between 2008 and 2017. We examine them in terms of their empirical domain, hypotheses, and methods of selection and analysis of institutional statements. We find that the existing empirical applications do not add much to explanation, unless they are supported by research questions and hypotheses grounded in theory. We offer three conclusions. First, to exploit the IGT researchers need to go beyond the descriptive, computational approach that has dominated the field until now. Second, IGT studies grounded in explicit hypotheses have more explanatory leverage, and therefore, should be encouraged when adopting the tool outside the Western world. Third, by focusing on rules, researchers can capture findings that are more explanatory and less microscopic.

Type: Article
Title: A sleeping giant awakes? The rise of the institutional grammar tool (IGT) in policy research
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/23812346.2019.1575502
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/23812346.2019.1575502
Language: English
Additional information: © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Keywords: Policy design, governance, Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD), Institutional Grammar Tool (IGT), theories of the policy process
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10071405
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