Informal Institutional Friction and Punctuations: Evidence from Multicultural Policy in Korea

30 Pages Posted: 17 May 2014 Last revised: 2 Feb 2015

See all articles by Sounman Hong

Sounman Hong

Yonsei University

Heeryung Sohn

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Hong, Sounman and Sohn, Heeryung, Informal Institutional Friction and Punctuations: Evidence from Multicultural Policy in Korea. Public Administration, Volume 92, Issue 4, pages 1075–1089. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2437415

Sounman Hong (Contact Author)

Yonsei University ( email )

Seoul
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Heeryung Sohn

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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