On path dependency in public agencies

Steve Kelman’s recent Lecturn in FCW rightly identifies the need for additional work on path dependency in public administration. His recent JPART paper is a great place to start for those interested in the theory.

I was trained by Doug North and Jack Knight, and so have had a long interest in the concept. In 2009, I presented at the first path dependency conference hosted by the Pfadkolleg Research Center, Freie Universität Berlin, and have been talking with Jörg Sydow at Freie Universität Berlin and David Stark at Columbia for a number of years about how to apply the theory in PA. One result of those conversations is my recent JPART paper with Amber Sinclair: Separation and Integration in Public Health: Evidence from Organizational Structure in the States.

For those interested in this topic, one of my next projects is a book on health agencies that centers on a path dependency explanatory model.