Path Dependency and Institutional Inertia in Health Politics in Latvia

Ieva Bikava, Ilga Kreituse (Coresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Path Dependency is a widespread phenomenon in politics, especially in fields related to non-profit and socially sensitive sectors as education and health politics. Institutions are formed by normative, formal as well as non-formal practices with the aim to protect and provide sustainability of the existing institution. So, theys are acting in the approved, convenient, habitual, and time verified ways – and changes in those patterns are not welcomed. Institutions are trying to gain the equilibrium state in the society and stay in that position as long as possible without any intensions to change. Changes can be implemented only if there are severe risks to come to the situation, when existence of the institution is contested. That leads to the inertia of institutions, especially those acting in executive sector – like ministries, where civil servants are not elected, but appointed.
Due to the institutional inertia, most of the reforms in those sectors are not the new initiatives that could generate serious changes in roles, powers and every practice of the institutions, but mostly are the incremental changes that can be regarded as the corrections of mistakes of the previously implemented reforms.
The research on Health Politics of Latvia in the period 1991–2018 was based on analyze of health reforms in 1) the pre-election programs of the political parties, which had been elected in the Parliament; 2) the declarations of the Governments; 3) reports on health reform implementation from the Ministry of Health.
Research results showed that significant and transformative reforms where implemented only at the early stages of forming and organizing the new independent state. At the end on 1990s when the previously existed centralized planned and governed system system was destroyed and the new system: totally decentralized and based on free market rules was implemented. All the following changes were more dealing with the results, rather than new reforms.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event63rd International Scientific Conference of Daugavpils University - Daugavpils University, Daugavpils, Latvia
Duration: 15 Apr 202116 Apr 2021
Conference number: 63


Conference63rd International Scientific Conference of Daugavpils University
OtherDaugavpils Universitātes 63. starptautiskā zinātniskā konference
Internet address

Field of Science*

  • 5.6 Political science
  • 3.3 Health sciences

Publication Type*

  • 3.4. Other publications in conference proceedings (including local)


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