Punctuated Equilibrium

Where it comes from and what it does: Dissatisfaction with the bias towards incrementalism in existing policies

What it is good at: Explaining major policy change

What its critics claim it is not good at:

Latest work on it (that I have read):

Howlett, M. and Migone, A. 2011. Charles Lindblom is alive and well and living in punctuated equilibrium land. Policy and Society, Vol. 30, pp.53-62.

Walgrave S. and Varone, F. 2008. Punctuated Equilibrium and Agenda-Setting: Bringing Parties Back in: Policy Change after the Dutroux Crisis in Belgium. Governance, Vol. 21, (3), pp.365-395.

Other explanations of it:
Paul Cairney’s 1000 word explanation.

Youtube explanation by one of the originators!

Key moving parts:

Policy Image

Policy Monopoly

Policy punctuations

Bounded Rationality


Feedback (negative) (PE and MSA)

Feedback (positive) (PE and MSA)

Competitive Consensus

Passive Consensus

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