In addition RI is often associated with an objective positive ontology which

In addition ri is often associated with an objective

This preview shows page 75 - 78 out of 354 pages.

In addition, RI is often associated with an objective, positive ontology, which assumes that there are absolute truths or realities that can be observed. Ostrom (2007, p. 33) acknowledges that the prediction of outcomes is difficult in field settings. This significantly diminishes the value of IAD in single case studies. These assumptions and ontological perspectives make RI unsuitable to investigate GAAP/GFS harmonisation. The common characteristics of RI theories are summarised in Figure 3.2. Figure 3.2: Summary ‘Rational Institutionalism’ Epistemological perspective Rationalism Cause of change Utility maximising behaviour of actors 21 For further information see, for example, Cook and Levi (1990) or Mansbridge (1990).
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62 Type of change (incremental or radical) Not considered Change progression Interdependent Perspective on institutions Stable, Utility functions Modify individual rational expectations and behaviour Motivations of actors Self-interested utility maximisation Rational or boundedly rational Level of agency of actors Low, as actors are motivated by self-interest (external force) Relationship between agency and structure/institutions Structural prevalence, agency limited, as actors actions are determined by maximisation personal benefit Are underlying theoretical assumptions compatible with epistemological outlook? Yes Suited for qualitative case study research? No 3.3 PUBLIC POLICY CONSTRUCTS FOCUSING ON HISTORICAL FACTORS HI researchers define institutions as “formal and informal procedures, routines, norms and conventions embedded in the organizational structure of the polity or political economy” (Hall and Taylor 1996, p. 938). HI researchers can take different epistemological perspectives to explain change and the relationship between institutions and actions. Some use rationalist assumptions, while others use social constructivist assumptions (Hall and Taylor 1996, pp. 939-940; Schmidt 2010). An important element of HI theories is the consideration of power (as identified by Lukes (1974) and described in Chapter 2) and in particular how power is distributed across social groups by examining access to decision-making processes (Hall and Taylor 1996, pp. 939-940; Steinmo 1993). The most distinguishing feature of HI, however, is the role of the historical context. HI researchers argue that any change is limited by the historical institutional context.
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63 PD and PEQ represent two streams of HI. (Capano 2009; Kay 2005; Schmidt 2010). PD explains that future policy choices are constrained by history, in the sense that: “At every step along the way there are choices – political and economic that provide…real alternatives. Path dependence is a way to narrow conceptually the choice set and link decision-making through time. It is not a story of inevitability in which the past neatly predicts the future.” (North 1999, pp. 99-99) PD has been criticised for adopting a limiting perspective of the historical context and its focus on institutional constraints that explain stability rather than change (Schmidt 2010).
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  • Government, The Land, International Financial Reporting Standards, Financial Accounting Standards Board, Australian Accounting Standards Board, Snow

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