Punctuations and agendas: A new look at local government budget expenditures
Punctuated equilibrium theory (PET) is an agenda-based theory that offers a theoretical foundation for large budget shifts. PET emphasizes that the static, incremental nature of agendas is occasionally interrupted by punctuations. These punctuations indicate shifts in priority among the agenda items, and with those agenda shifts come trade-offs. This article expands the discussion of punctuated budgets to the level of local government by determining that local government expenditures have the characteristics espoused by the punctuated equilibrium theory. The article also determines the frequency of punctuations and the probability for future punctuations. The findings show that some budget functions and policy types are more prone to punctuations and, therefore, have a less stable agenda. The practical significance of extending PET to local government budgeting is the implication on planning, forecasting, and the agenda-setting process. © 2003 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.
Volume (Year): 22 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
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