Devolution in Scotland: A Historical Institutionalist Approach for the Explanation of Anglo-Scottish Relations

  • Simon Meisch


There is an implicit historical institutionalist agreement within academic literature on Scottish devolution: Institutions and history are relevant for explaining how the Scottish institutions evolved and how they shaped politics. However, there is disagreement on the question to what extent the devolution reforms, which started in 1997 and transferred powers from UK institutions to newly created Scottish institutions, form a real break with the previous institutional settlement. It is also criticised that studies on devolution highlighted the explanatory power of history, but without elaborating what they actually mean by history matters and without theorising on the issue.

My paper will address this criticism by discussing three different conceptual approaches and by suggesting an explicit historical institutional approach for the study of devolution. It provides a dynamic understanding of institution and combines the concept of path dependency and the theory of gradual change.


Institutional Change Path Dependency History Matter Critical Juncture Social Science Study 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Internationales Zentrum für Ethik in den Wissenschaften (IZEW)University of TübingenTübingenGermany

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