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WP3 The creation of new institutions through layering

This work package has examined the creation of new institutions that have been layered on top of existing institutions in two separate research projects.

In the first project, team members, Professor Francesca Gains (University of Manchester) and Professor Vivien Gains (University of Birmingham) investigated Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs), a new institution that was layered on to existing local police structures in England. Their creation was part of the Conservative party’s election manifesto in 2010 and the first ones were elected in 2012. PCCs were new governance structures intended to increase participation, accountability and democracy. This research has investigated the role that gender plays in PCCs. It has examined how entrenched norms, rules and procedures have played out in this new institution and its policy outputs. The research has asked whether informal norms have changed to match changes in formal structures. 

In the second project, UIC PhD student, Leah Culhane, has examined the introduction of electoral gender quotas as a new layered institution that was used for the first time in the Republic of Ireland in 2016. Leah Culhane has explored how far the quotas have disrupted existing patterns of male dominance that have long been reinforced by informal norms and practices at the local level, particularly surrounding notions of ‘localism’.  These projects used a range of qualitative techniques such as participant observation and in-depth ethnographic work together with quantitative analysis.

Duration 36 months October 2013 to September 2016

Key people

  • Prof Francesca Gains
  • Prof Vivien Lowndes (external team member, University of Birmingham)

PhD student:

  • Leah Culhane

Key Publications