This article explores the new institutionalist literature in political economy in the context of Kosovo's contested statehood, focusing on institutional arbitrage and legitimacy. This article considers both the consequences of institutions for actors' behaviour and the norms that shape this, as well as the factors determining the legitimacy of institutions. In doing so, it combines the new institutionalist theory with documentary and interview material collected during research on energy regulation in one contested state, Kosovo. Rather than singling out one particular variety of "new institutionalism", the article attempts to blend insights from historical (or "political"), rational choice, and sociological institutionalism.
- contested states