European Political Science

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 176–180 | Cite as

i see punctuations everywhere! how do (other) governments prioritise issues?

  • Tevfik Murat Yildirim

How and why do public policies change? Scholars of policy processes had long answered this question with the concept of incrementalism. According to this view, policymakers rely heavily on their previous policy decisions while formulating today’s decisions due in part to time constraints and other cognitive and institutional limitations. The reliance on past decisions results in incremental changes in public policies, keeping the issues that require significant updates out of the political agenda. Although the notion of incrementalism dominated the literature until the last two decades, Baumgartner and Jones (Baumgartner and Jones, 1993) have challenged the then-widely accepted notion, emphasising the fact that incrementalism fails to account for public policies that occasionally undergo radical change. Punctuated Equilibrium Theory predicts that public policies change in a series of fits and starts, where ‘long periods of policy stasis interrupted episodically with bursts of rapid...


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Copyright information

© European Consortium for Political Research 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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