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9781589014497
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v2.1 Reference
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March 13, 2002
9780878408351
English
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v2.1 Reference

The Limits of Policy Change

Incrementalism, Worldview, and the Rule of Law

Michael Hayes offers a vigorous defense of incrementalism: the theory that the policymaking process typically should involve bargaining, delay, compromise, and, therefore, incremental change. Incrementalism, he argues, is one result of a checks-and-balances system in which politicians may disagree over what we want to achieve as a nation or what policies would best achieve shared goals.

Many political scientists have called for reforms that would facilitate majority rule and more radical policy change by strengthening the presidency at the expense of Congress. But Hayes develops policy typologies and analyzes case studies to show that the policy process works best when it conforms to the tenets of incrementalism. He contends that because humans are fallible, politics should work through social processes to achieve limited ends and to ameliorate—rather than completely solve—social problems. Analyzing the evolution of air pollution policy, the failure of President Clinton's health care reform in 1994, and the successful effort at welfare reform in 1995-96, Hayes calls for changes that would make incrementalism work better by encouraging a more balanced struggle among social interests and by requiring political outcomes to conform to the rule of law.

Written for students and specialists in politics, public policy, and public administration, The Limits of Policy Change examines in detail a central issue in democratic theory.

About the Author

Michael T. Hayes is professor and chair of the department of political science at Colgate University. He is the author of Incrementalism and Public Policy.

Reviews

"Hayes is at his analytical best. . . . His analysis both refines and challenges conventional thinking."—American Political Science Review

Endorsements

"[This book] will prove to be an important contribution to both policy analysis and democratic theory. . . . [Michael Hayes'] case for incrementalism coupled to the rule of law is a powerful alternative to the politics that all too often dominates contemporary policy debates."—Edward J. Harpham, University of Texas at Dallas

Georgetown University Press
Essential Texts in American Government

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