Why do institutions revert? institutional elasticity and petroleum sector reforms in India
Gopakumar, K. V.
Ojha, Abhoy K.
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The institutional change literature has predominantly focused on successful changes and sparsely on failed changes, but the idea of institutional fields reverting to their pre-change or near pre-change state, after change attempts, remains underexplored. Although recent studies have explored similar phenomenon from the perspective of actors resisting change and trying to restore status quo, a field-level understanding of the processes and the dynamics associated with it remains underexamined. The present study, using the case of reforms in the field of petroleum exploration and production in India, examines an institutional change where the institution, once modified, gradually reverted near to its prechange state. We suggest the concept of institutional elasticity to explain such reverting of institutions, and elaborate on three boundary conditions—scope of change, pace of change, and field-level actor constellations—which have implications for the relationship between institutional elasticity and reverting of institutions.
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