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Corrective policy reactions: positive and negative budgetary punctuations

  • Carla M. Flink (a1) and Scott E. Robinson (a2)
Abstract

Punctuated equilibrium theory seeks to explain policy volatility and stability in government attention. In previous research into the temporal dynamics of punctuations, scholars found that punctuations occur in clusters – a recent budgetary punctuation increases the likelihood of a subsequent punctuation. This article examines the direction, positive or negative, of budgetary punctuations over time. Are budgetary punctuations corrective, grouping positive and negative changes? Or, do budgetary punctuations occur in cumulative trends of positive or negative changes? These questions address the heart of the theoretical metaphor for punctuated equilibrium. In an analysis of over 1,000 Texas school districts for nearly a 20-year-period, results support the notion of reactive patterns of budgetary punctuations – positive and negative budgetary punctuations pair up at a rate much higher than expected by chance. The findings demonstrate that even though it is likely to see consecutive positive and negative punctuations, they are not always fully corrective.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author. Email: flink@american.edu
References
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Journal of Public Policy
  • ISSN: 0143-814X
  • EISSN: 1469-7815
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