What Is Known About Punctuated Equilibrium Theory: And What Does That Tell Us About the Construction, Validation and Replication of Knowledge in the Policy Sciences?

May 7, 2018

This article reviews how the Punctuated Equilibrium-Theory (PET) has been applied in studies analysing policy change. It builds on a systematic evidence synthesis of peer-reviewed empirical literature that is based on the core readings by Frank R. Baumgartner and Bryan D. Jones. The article identifies trends in the geographical and policy focus of PET studies; maps, explores and interrogates how core concepts of PET are applied in empirical analyses; and, finally, assesses the analytical and explanatory power of PET when applied to empirical phenomena. The article finds that PET studies have contributed a great deal to our knowledge on particular cases, but that more often than not PET is applied in a selective manner. The article deals with the implications of these findings for further theory development in policy analysis.

via What Is Known About Punctuated Equilibrium Theory: And What Does That Tell Us About the Construction, Validation and Replication of Knowledge in the Policy Sciences? by Johanna Kuhlmann, Jeroen van der Heijden :: SSRN


Elections, Ideology, and Turnover in the U.S. Federal Government by Alexander Bolton, John M. de Figueiredo, David E. Lewis :: SSRN

December 22, 2016

A defining feature of public sector employment is the regular change in elected leadership. Yet, we know little about how elections influence public sector careers. We describe how elections alter policy outputs and disrupt the influence of civil servants over agency decisions. These changes shape the career choices of employees motivated by policy, influence, and wages. Using new Office of Personnel Management data on the careers of millions of federal employees between 1988 and 2011, we evaluate how elections influence employee turnover decisions. We find that presidential elections increase departure rates of career senior employees, particularly in agencies with divergent views relative to the new president and at the start of presidential terms. We also find suggestive evidence that vacancies in high-level positions after elections may induce lower-level executives to stay longer in hopes of advancing. We conclude with implications of our findings for public policy, presidential politics, and public management.

Source: Elections, Ideology, and Turnover in the U.S. Federal Government by Alexander Bolton, John M. de Figueiredo, David E. Lewis :: SSRN


Presidential Power, Historical Practice, and Legal Constraint by Curtis Bradley, Trevor Morrison :: SSRN

January 27, 2013

The scope of the President’s legal authority is determined in part by historical practice. This Essay aims to better understand how such practice-based law might operate as a constraint on the presidency. In part because of the limited availability of judicial review in this area, some commentators have suggested that presidential authority has become “unbounded” by law and is now governed only or primarily by politics. At the same time, there has been growing skepticism about the ability of the familiar political checks on presidential power to work in any systematic or reliable fashion. Whether and how practice-based law might constrain the President are thus vital questions. As the Essay explains, no examination of those questions can succeed without careful specification of what legal constraint entails and how it relates to distinct but related phenomena like genuine disagreement about the content of the law. After attempting such specification, the Essay identifies various internal and external causal mechanisms through which law, including practice-based law, could constrain the President. The Essay argues, among other things, that one way that law might operate as a constraint is through the simple fact that issues of presidential power are publicly criticized and defended in legal terms. The Essay concludes by suggesting some avenues of possible empirical research.

via Presidential Power, Historical Practice, and Legal Constraint by Curtis Bradley, Trevor Morrison :: SSRN.