Conclusion: Subsystems as a Unit of Analysis
The tendency and ability of subsystems to produce distributive policy in which benefits are concentrated and costs diffuse is directly tied to the particular variant of subsystem politics in operation. Variation in subsystem politics has its largest impact on the “what” portion of the question. As the partial deregulation of banking makes clear, alliances involving outsiders have dominated subsystem politics since the 1970s. Subsystems develop and evolve as a part of a larger political-economic system. Economic downturns that directly impact the business of banking are perhaps the most stunning example of the effect of events in the larger environment on subsystem deal making. In addition to economically induced change, alteration in long-standing institutional arrangements is a potential spark of subsystem political change. Subsystem politics often shift from one point on the subsystem continuum to another as a result of the interaction of environmental stimuli and internal activities.