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Appears in Collections:History and Politics Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: What is Evolutionary Theory and How Does it Inform Policy Studies?
Authors: Cairney, Paul
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Issue Date: Apr-2013
Publisher: Policy Press
Citation: Cairney P (2013) What is Evolutionary Theory and How Does it Inform Policy Studies? , Policy and Politics, 41 (2), pp. 279-298.
Abstract: The term 'evolution' is used loosely in the policy literature and its meaning is frequently unclear. This article injects clarity into debates of evolution and establishes its ability to describe and explain policy change. It has four main aims. First, it identifies the explicit and implicit uses of evolutionary theory in policy studies. Second, it considers how such accounts relate to each other and the wider literature on public policy. Third, it identifies the causal mechanisms involved in evolutionary accounts. Finally, it considers how to translate abstract theory into a more concrete set of methods and plans for empirical research.
Type: Journal Article
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Rights: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copy edited version of an article published in Policy & Politics. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Policy & Politics, Volume 41, Number 2, April 2013 , pp. 279-298 is available online at
Affiliation: Politics

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