The discipline of public administration and public policy is experiencing a renaissance of research in which explicit attention is paid to political insti tutions. This renewed interest in institutions is not simply an extension of the 'classical' paradigm in the study of public administration, which peaked in the 1920s and 1930s, but offers a new orientation on political institutions. While 'classical' institutionalism is known for its focus on the formal stroctures of the executive branch of government, the 'new' institutionalism concentrates on the interaction between political institutions and the behavior of policy makers. This interaction, which until recently was largely neglected in public administration and public policy, forms the basic theme of this volume. To advance the study of political institutions, two rather basic problems need to be addressed: What are institutions and what are adequate ways to analyze them? We briefty discuss both questions, which determine the strocture of this book.