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In this article we examine the determinants of institutional change using a panel dataset comprising 25 transition economies. A defining characteristic of our approach is that we treat institutional change as a multidimensional unobserved variable, accounting for the fact that each of our indicators represents a noisy signal. Our results suggest that institutional change is significantly path dependent. However, policy can to some extent break this dependence through economic and political liberalisation at the start of the transition and with the help of an external anchor such as EU accession.