An Integrated Theory of Budgetary Politics and Some Empirical Tests: The U.S. National Budget, 1791–2010. Jones, B. D., Zalányi, L., & Érdi, P. American Journal of Political Science, 2014.
An Integrated Theory of Budgetary Politics and Some Empirical Tests: The U.S. National Budget, 1791–2010 [link]Paper  doi  abstract   bibtex   
We develop a general theory of budgetary politics and examine its implications on a new data set on U.S. government expenditures from 1791 to 2010. We draw on three major approaches to budgeting: decision-making theories, primarily incrementalism and serial processing; policy process models; and path dependency. We show that the incrementalist budget model is recursive and that its solution is exponential growth, and isolate three periods in which it operates in pure form. The equilibrium periods are separated by critical junctures, associated with wars or economic collapse. We assess policy process dynamics by examining the deviations within equilibrium periods. We offer three takeaways: (1) exponential incrementalism is fundamental to a theory of budgeting; (2) disjoint shifts in the level of exponential incrementalism are caused only by critical moments; (3) temporally localized dynamics cause bends in the exponential path, longer returns to the path within budgetary eras, and annual punctuations in budget changes.
@article{jones_integrated_2014,
	title = {An {Integrated} {Theory} of {Budgetary} {Politics} and {Some} {Empirical} {Tests}: {The} {U}.{S}. {National} {Budget}, 1791–2010},
	copyright = {© 2014, Midwest Political Science Association},
	issn = {1540-5907},
	shorttitle = {An {Integrated} {Theory} of {Budgetary} {Politics} and {Some} {Empirical} {Tests}},
	url = {http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ajps.12088/abstract},
	doi = {10.1111/ajps.12088},
	abstract = {We develop a general theory of budgetary politics and examine its implications on a new data set on U.S. government expenditures from 1791 to 2010. We draw on three major approaches to budgeting: decision-making theories, primarily incrementalism and serial processing; policy process models; and path dependency. We show that the incrementalist budget model is recursive and that its solution is exponential growth, and isolate three periods in which it operates in pure form. The equilibrium periods are separated by critical junctures, associated with wars or economic collapse. We assess policy process dynamics by examining the deviations within equilibrium periods. We offer three takeaways: (1) exponential incrementalism is fundamental to a theory of budgeting; (2) disjoint shifts in the level of exponential incrementalism are caused only by critical moments; (3) temporally localized dynamics cause bends in the exponential path, longer returns to the path within budgetary eras, and annual punctuations in budget changes.},
	language = {en},
	urldate = {2014-02-04},
	journal = {American Journal of Political Science},
	author = {Jones, Bryan D. and Zalányi, László and Érdi, Péter},
	year = {2014},
	pages = {n/a--n/a},
	file = {Snapshot:files/48257/abstract\;jsessionid=05C513292E741F7D7D2BF07AD464E393.html:text/html;Snapshot:files/49366/abstract.html:text/html}
}

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