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Institutional Misfits: Law and Habits in Finnish Wolf Policy

Juha Hiedanpää, Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute


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Finland has struggled with formulating and implementing policies regarding the national grey wolf (Canis lupus) population. It seems that after major institutional adjustments undertaken to improve wolf protection, the wolf population has, in fact, decreased. This calls for an explanation. My approach to the question of institutional fit builds upon classical institutional economics and pragmatism. I will apply Charles S. Peirce’s conception of habits and his theory of categories and the idea of normative sciences. The case study from southwestern Finland shows that if the institutional designers would address the habits of feeling, mind, and action, including their own, that frame and constitute the problematic situation and potential solutions, the critical conditions of institutional fit would be more tangible and easier to identify and handle. As long as policy adjustments are reactive and compulsive and not built upon a reasonable engagement of whole epistemic community in habit-breaking and habit-taking, policies will most likely fail.

Key words

grey wolf (Canis lupus); habits; institutional fit; institutions; policy; pragmatism

Copyright © 2013 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087