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Various critiques have been made of the analytic narrative, which is a methodological approach that combines historical and comparative research with rational choice models. This paper discusses current limitations of the approach and ways for overcoming them on the basis of evidence provided by the case study of the implementation of the water reform in Italy in the period 1994-2001. The case study shows how attention to issues of case selection, formulation of causal hypothesis, and generalizability of findings is important in order to make analytic narratives contribute to the repertoire of tools of comparative public policy research.


Analytic narratives, game theory, policy reform implementation