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Ideas as Building Blocks of a Path: Islamic Challenge to the pro-Western Turkish Foreign Policy, 1996-1997
Unformatted Document Text:  overlap in base among the major taxes (income, sales, and payroll), and because major overhauls of the tax mix are likely associated with significant transaction costs and political risks, centrist and pragmatic policy makers have strong incentives to focus on policy adjustment within the confines of a historically developed tax mix” (2007, 1074- 1075). In brief, although the materialist version of path dependence acknowledges that it is not always guaranteed to reach and maintain Pareto-optimality (also known as path inefficiency, Pierson 2000, 253), it does treat cost-benefit calculus (i.e. increasing returns, positive feedback) as the main dynamic behind the continuation or the persistence of a path. A scholar puts this bias in the following way: Scholars have traditionally explored path dependence around interest-driven issue-areas such as welfare state reform and regime change. They have shown how institutions created at critical junctures shape constellations of actors and interests around subsequent controversies. Actors who benefit from a given set of institutions and policies tend to rally around the status quo, reinforcing a path-dependent process characterized by increasing returns. (Banchoff 2005, 201-202) This bias substantially limits the explanatory power of PDA because there are also several cases in the political world that non-material factors and considerations (i.e. ideas, values and legitimacy concerns) constitute a path. The following section presents ideational path dependence as a distinct type of political continuity. Ideational Path Dependence In the ideational version, ideas and/or values, rather than cost-benefit calculus or material factors, constitute a path. In other words, actors maintain a certain path not because of an expected utility down the path but because of simply believing in the appropriateness of certain ideas and values. For instance, in his study of the continuation of the Scandinavian model of welfare state, Cox shows that although the Scandinavian model experienced several reforms in the 1990s, the distinctiveness of the model 9

Authors: Sarigil, Zeki.
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overlap in base among the major taxes (income, sales, and payroll), and because major
overhauls of the tax mix are likely associated with significant transaction costs and
political risks, centrist and pragmatic policy makers have strong incentives to focus on
policy adjustment within the confines of a historically developed tax mix” (2007, 1074-
1075).
In brief, although the materialist version of path dependence acknowledges that it
is not always guaranteed to reach and maintain Pareto-optimality (also known as path
inefficiency, Pierson 2000, 253), it does treat cost-benefit calculus (i.e. increasing returns,
positive feedback) as the main dynamic behind the continuation or the persistence of a
path. A scholar puts this bias in the following way:
Scholars have traditionally explored path dependence around interest-driven issue-areas such
as welfare state reform and regime change. They have shown how institutions created at
critical junctures shape constellations of actors and interests around subsequent
controversies. Actors who benefit from a given set of institutions and policies tend to rally
around the status quo, reinforcing a path-dependent process characterized by increasing
returns. (Banchoff 2005, 201-202)
This bias substantially limits the explanatory power of PDA because there are also
several cases in the political world that non-material factors and considerations (i.e. ideas,
values and legitimacy concerns) constitute a path. The following section presents
ideational path dependence as a distinct type of political continuity.
Ideational Path Dependence
In the ideational version, ideas and/or values, rather than cost-benefit calculus or
material factors, constitute a path. In other words, actors maintain a certain path not
because of an expected utility down the path but because of simply believing in the
appropriateness of certain ideas and values. For instance, in his study of the continuation
of the Scandinavian model of welfare state, Cox shows that although the Scandinavian
model experienced several reforms in the 1990s, the distinctiveness of the model
9


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