Informal Institutional Friction and Punctuations: Evidence from Multicultural Policy in Korea
30 Pages Posted: 17 May 2014 Last revised: 2 Feb 2015
Although the theory of punctuated equilibrium is one of the most widely cited theories in policy studies, most of the research has paid relatively little attention to the conditions under which a policy punctuation is likely to occur. In this study, we argue that one of the likely causes of a punctuation is cultural friction, defined as the friction between two opposing forces: the force directed at amplifying the demand for policymaking that is expected to introduce a new cultural value, and the retarding force, which is a pre-existing cultural value deeply rooted in a society that blocks the policymaking. Cultural friction makes it harder for policymakers to change policy even where there is increasing demand, but may eventually generate a larger change to make up for past inattention to the issue. We support our argument with evidence of the recent large-scale change in multicultural policy in Korea.
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