According to a study from the United States, "Policy universes are usually characterized by stability, even when stability represents a suboptimal state. Institutions and processes channel and cajole agents along a policy path, restricting the available solution set."
"Herein, structure is usually to the fore. But what of agency? Do no actors choose? In fact, they do, even in policy environments of incrementalism, even amid hostility. But where agency makes for momentous change is during the punctuations of long policy equilibriums, perfect storms enabling nonincremental movement onto a new policy trajectory, departing from the old path. On both levels, the interaction effects of both structure and agency make a difference-incrementally in the first case, nonincrementally in the second," wrote D. Wilsford and colleagues, George Mason University.
The researchers concluded: "It's not just one damn thing after another, nor does just anything go."
Wilsford and colleagues published the results of their research in the Journal of Health Politics Policy and Law (The Logic of Policy Change: Structure and Agency in Political Life. Journal of Health Politics Policy and Law, 2010;35(4 Sp. Iss.):663-680).
For additional information, contact D. Wilsford, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA.
The publisher of the Journal of Health Politics Policy and Law can be contacted at: Duke University Press, 905 W Main St., Ste. 18-B, Durham, NC 27701, USA.