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The Structure of Policy Change$
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Derek A. Epp

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226529691

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226529868.001.0001

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Instabilities in Federal Policy Making

Instabilities in Federal Policy Making

(p.67) Five Instabilities in Federal Policy Making
The Structure of Policy Change

Derek A. Epp

University of Chicago Press

This chapter documents policy punctuations evident in the US federal budget. It develops a methodology for sorting programmatic areas of the US budget based on the complexity of underlying issues. Similarly, the chapter introduces a measure of institutional capacity, and demonstrates that, based on this measure, the capacity of the federal government to process and respond to policy information has varied considerably over time. Using quantile regression techniques, the chapter shows that large budgetary changes (either sudden increases or dramatic cuts) are more likely in complex programmatic areas and less likely during periods of heightened institutional capacity. These relationship are statistically robust to the inclusion of potentially confounding factors in the regression models.

Keywords:   federal budget, institutional capacity, issue complexity, policy punctuations

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